Creepy phone call from the "Gas" company

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by Em_Catz, Dec 3, 2012.

  1. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Dec 3, 2012

    So Mom and I had been hanging out together for a few hours after work when I got a phone from an unfamilar number with a local area. Thinking it was one of the moving companies I've recently contacted, I answered.

    The caller has an Indian accent and says he's calling for <insert my first and last name> with Washington Gas & Smart One Energy. I remembered boyfriend saying he had just gotten the gas bill transferred to our new apartment, so I assumed that's what it was about.

    When I asked what address was he calling in reference to, he gave my parents address which was an instant red flag because even though I live at home, everything at my parents house is in their name.

    I looked at Mom and asked if she had put my name on anything. She said no. I told the caller it was my parents house and I wasn't sure why he was calling. The caller said, "Our records indicate that you are the primary contact for this address and have sole responsibility for the gas bill."

    I said, "Your records are incorrect then. It's not my house. Nothing is in my name."

    He held the phone then said, "Oh. Okay. Sorry to have disturbed you." and hung up* :confused:

    No explanation as to why he was calling. No phone call to Mom or Dad who are the account holders.

    I googled the company and found the following report: http://www.scamexposure.com/scam-re...-tricked-my-wife-into-unwittingly-c66879.html

    Basically they call people, pretend to be with Washington Gas and get them to switch their natural gas bill over to Smart One Energy LLC. :eek:

    I was totally freaked out because like I said, I had just talked to my boyfriend about the gas bill and if they had said anything about me relocating or if they had known my Mom's name, we probably would have thought it was our company.

    This is seriously why I almost never answer my cell phone unless I recognize the caller. :mad:
     
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  3. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Dec 3, 2012

    Yeah there's always someone out there trying to scam somebody & thinking of a way to catch someone off guard. For the last 6 mos, I've finally had caller ID & I don't answer any calls whose name/# I don't recognize either.
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Dec 3, 2012

    So glad you were careful about screening this call. These type of scammers prey upon the elderly as well. Good that your mom is alert to this now. Call the local BBB.
     
  5. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Dec 3, 2012

    Ugh, exactly. It just made me feel all skeeved out and kinda violated. I consider myself a pretty intelligent person...the fact that I was almost hoodwinked by a scammer is NOT a good feeling :-(
     
  6. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Dec 3, 2012

    "Our records indicate" followed by any type of question, to which the answer should be an integral part of their "records" is the first tip off to a scam.

    I once got a call regarding car warranties - "Our records indicate that your car is about to go out of warranty." Followed by a short pitch on an extended warranty I could purchase.

    So I took the bait and said I was interested. The first thing they did was ask for the make and model of my car.

    "You tell me," I responded. After all, if they knew it was about to go out of warranty, they must know what kind of car it is, right?

    The caller immediately hung up.
     
  7. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Dec 3, 2012

    I understand cold calling like Sarge's call, but I wonder how do this person get my first & last name, address and know that I use Washington Gas at my residence? Do they just cold call and hope for the best? How did they know I didn't have Pepco or some other company?
     
  8. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Dec 3, 2012

    But I did have a car that was about to go out of warranty.
     
  9. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    ARGH, how do they get this information? So obnoxious
     
  10. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Dec 3, 2012

    Be prepared for A LOT more of this kind-of *surprise* marketing. With everyone giving up all kinds of personal information every day, I'm sure they will have (if they don't already) a profile on you that is frighteningly accurate.

    People have GPS in their phones, they tag where they are at all times, they swipe their supermarket card (that saves them dough at checkout), which basically tells your shopping abits/patterns, we pay for everything by debit/credit card...
     
  11. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    EmCatz...put the phone number at your new apartment on the 'do not call' list.
     
  12. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    We dont have house phones (land line) , just cell phones. can u do that w/a cell?

    That's actually a really scary thought. If you have any tips for protecting yourself please let me know. I always assumed scams were obvious (ie: I'm a Nigerian prince. Please give me your account number and I will send you a $200,000 check) or someone shooting an email and asking for your password to an account.

    This was done so professionally...even the Indian guy on the other line was convincing because a lot of places outsource these days, so his accent didn't throw me off. Plus he had the same area code as me
     
  13. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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  14. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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  15. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    That's why I never answer the phone unless it's a number I recognize! People think it's weird, but I figure if it's actually important they'll leave a message.
     
  16. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Dec 3, 2012

    pretty easy to do so

    They get a random list of names from wherever junk mail people get their names and addresses and then they make an assumption based on what most people use in that area.

    We get calls like that all the time here, but regarding electricity. They say we can lower our PSE&G bill (We have JCP&L).

    PSE&G is the larger of the NJ electrical companies.
     

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