Senior News Line
by Matilda Charles
The guy who showed up today came to the wrong door: mine. I pegged him for a scammer before he even said a word. And I was right. The only thing I didn’t know was what kind of scam it was.
Turned out it was utilities. The guy claimed he was at the door at the request of my electric company to update my records. Then he said he only needed to scan my previous utility bill.
Wrong. I’d read about these guys.
First, I knew that my electric company didn’t send him. Second, if I’d showed him my bill, he would have had my name and account number and would know what rate I pay.
The scam works like this: With all that information, they would offer me a ridiculously low rate. If I signed up, before I knew it, my electric bill would have gone up 400 percent. I’d be locked into a contract and would have to pay a lot of money to get out of it. If I didn’t pay, they would send the bill to a collection agency, and it would show up on my credit report. So I shut the door in his face.
This particular scammer has a long history in other states, and there are class- action suits and investigations. They’ve targeted seniors, saying the local utility company had changed names and new information is needed, falsified signatures to sign up, come to the door again and again, misrepresented who they worked for, lied about rates and much, much more.
If someone shows up at your door with a clipboard and a photo ID hanging from their neck, it’s probably a scammer. If they ask for any information, it’s probably a scammer. Just shut the door. Instead, if you’re looking for a better utility deal but not from the scammer outside your door, you could search for light companies with no deposit and a cheaper monthly rate than your current provider, always make sure to do some extensive research to avoid being scammed.