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Reminder of the brazen lies

I live four miles from where Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New Jersey. The bay, dramatically swollen by rain, wind and storm surge, left three feet of water in the ground floor of my home. We’re slowly cleaning up the mess.

On several occasions, government and agency officials have been on our street to see how we’re making out. City officials were walking around the day after we were allowed to return home. A week later, a man from FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) knocked on our door and gave us a flier for disaster assistance. A week after that a woman from the Red Cross stopped by, checking to see if anyone needed services.

Yesterday, we had another visitor. A man wearing a bright yellow safety vest said he was from the utility companies, coming to make sure we received credit on our gas and electric bills for the outages we experienced as a result of the hurricane. He wore a nametag, with his photo on it, from a utility consulting company, and asked to see our bills.

My husband, Terry, came in from outside to find them. He thought it was a bit strange that someone from the utility companies was at our home on a Sunday, but I figured he was coming around when he expected people would be home. We found the bills and stood on the porch, in the cold, as he looked them over. I noticed that the sleeve of his jacket was embroidered with a Verizon logo.

The man pulled out a form and copied down the account number for the electric bill and the gas bill. Then he asked for my date of birth.

“Why do you need my date of birth?” I asked.

“We need it in order to issue you the credit,” he said.

“I’m not giving you my date of birth.”

“Well then you won’t get the credit.”

At this point, Terry had heard enough. “This is not right,” he said. “No one from the utility companies is going to be coming around on a Sunday. We’re not doing this.”

“If that’s what you want,” the man said. And he left.

Ploy to sign the forms

Terry and I believe that the man was working for one of those alternative energy supply companies. His whole spiel about getting us reductions on our gas and electric bills because of the storm was a ploy to get us to sign the forms to switch energy suppliers.

The experience was a reminder of how smoothly some people can lie.

This man presented himself as a concerned utility representative working to get us savings that were due to us. He patiently waited in the cold while we looked for our gas and electric bills, and slowly examined them. When he asked for our information, he sounded like any clerk filling out a form.

And even when we started questioning him, the man never missed a beat, never diverted from his story or his persona. Even when Terry told him, essentially, to get lost, he walked away as if we were the ones losing out.

The man looked us in the eye and lied, with no shame whatsoever. Even knowing what I know about sociopaths, I was still amazed at his cool, calm and brazen performance. No wonder honest people get manipulated.


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Louise

G1S:

I also worked in QA and compliance at a major pharmaceutical company. Very highly regimented environment.

Back_from_the_edge

With a DOB, a person can find out all sorts of things
about another. It should be as guarded as all the rest
of our personal information.

One thing about “IT”…
after repeatedly asking me my DOB,
aw, shucks, it sort of got away with out it.

Like skylar says: anyone can find out pretty much
anything about another if that person wants to.

Theft rings steal mail that you never even know you are missing.
Psychopaths go even further and deeper into their ‘planning’.

If you are in question of anyone at your door,
do not open it; speak through the door.

Safety first.
Questions later.

DawnG

There are people from an alternative energy company who go door to door in my city about once a month soliciting switchovers from the “big” natural gas company.

They don’t identify what company they work for and immediately demand a copy of your last gas statement. They lie, they cajole, they “fast talk”, they get belligerent and don’t like taking no for an answer.

They’re trained to operate this way. I can’t imagine how many unsuspecting (especially elderly) people signed up for something they didn’t even understand.

Truthspeak

Dupey, yeah…..and, there was a program that I saw a few months ago that followed a couple of “gypsy” businessmen who would buy a truckload of asphalt and go door-to-door to sell it to homeowners for their driveways at a huge profit. It was an on-the-spot sales pitch and some of these homeowners would actually whip out their checkbooks and write out a 10K check to have their driveways paved all at one time. Now, there was no remedy if the driveway crumbled a month later because the work had been faulty, but some of these folks TRUSTED these men, implicitly.

Yah….you’re spot-on! “Savety first. Questions later!”

Brightest blessings

hilary

I’m horrified that alternative energy companies are going around trying to scam people. I don’t know what they hope to gain by tarnishing their name, other than a quick buck, a scam of the minute, with zero longevity. Ugh.
Thanks to both Skylar and Donna for bringing up the salient point that we often do the work for these people! We justify things that are out of place and make excuses for them rather than seeing them for the flags that they are! I know that I do this, but at least I’m catching myself more often now, and I can always, always use the reminder!

Delores

People used to be prosecuted for these kind of crimes. Now the law does not care. The law is no longer about truth and justice but about who can win the most cases regardless of guilt or innocence.

Do psychopaths just get attracted to law school or does law school create psychopaths? My niece dropped out of law school after the first semester because she said they teach you how not to think.

DawnG

Donna,

I think you may have been lucky to come across ethical people previously. My experience is that they will do anything to make the deal.

The company sent people (I feel confident there’s more than one “representative” running around) to your area so soon after a natural disaster. It’s called “Disaster Capitalism”. Nasty guy, nasty business. I’m very sorry. This kind of wretchedness doesn’t help during difficult times.

I hope you and yours are doing well.

Allergic to Spandex

These guys with their clipboards come around regularly in my neighborhood (a town in PA, west of Philly), which has a lot of non-native English speakers and just general po’ folk. I wonder how many have been deceived.

I allowed myself to lose it on the last one. “If you’re from one of those energy supply people, I am NOT INTERESTED. I am HAPPY WITH MY ENERGY. I also have a MIGRAINE RIGHT NOW.”

In a soft voice, he gave me the line about seeing if my bill had changed after the disaster.

This was easy, because I pay the bill every month online. I informed him, still using my all-caps voice, that we had gotten our bill since the hurricane; that it was exactly the same as the one before; and that I was fine, and also, goodbye.

I really hope I develop a reputation among these people as the crazy, angry migraine lady in apt. #___.

Ox Drover

Even supposedly “green” or “alternative” energy companies have to make a buck too…funny thing is they dont’ string new wires for electric or new pipes for gas or water, it is just a different billing system and they get a cut…back here we have the “alternative” phone companies for land lines. I am so frustrated with them all that I finally had my land line taken out.

It was with AT&T but they kept screwing up the bill (double billing) and I tried to reach 1-800-GIVEASHIAT and never could get anyone who A) spoke English or B) cared. I went to the AT&T store and tried to talk to the person who sold me the land line and screwed up the billing in the first place, but they told me they only SOLD the stuff, that I’d have to call 1-800-GIVEASHIAT again, so after 3 months of the double billing not being straightened out, and HOURS on the phone trying to find someone to fix the problem, I just canceled the land line.

I realize I am not going to bankrupt AT&T by canceling, but if enough people do it maybe tey will get the idea. For years I was getting $1.50-$2 on my bill for TEXTING…my son and I do NOT text at all….and I would go over the itemized bill and there would be texting charges and I would get them removed off our bill…this was EVERY month so I had the texting BLOCKED on our account. Well, not long after that, I read where there was a big CLASS ACTION law suuit against AT*T and Sprint (I think it was) for doing this to MILLIONS OF CUSTOMERS, customers, that I imagine that 99.9% of just paid the bill and didn’t look at it charge by charge like this old skin-flint does.

Let’s see 5 zilliion customers at $2 fraudulent charges per customer per month = $9.9999 Zillion extra bucks! (minus my $2) Tell me it was an accidental charge. LOL ROTFLMAO In my mind even the “legitimate” corporations are crooks.

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