Monday, August 29, 2011

Phishing in Florida

Florida is unofficially known as 'The Retirement State,' but there is another name it should have "the Phishing State." My sister in law got scammed a couple of times and we bailed her out of one, but the mail Saturday brought this little gem:





At this point, if it's coming addressed to Jane, it is an insurance EOB or junk mail, because we've notified everyone else. I will admit that for a second or two, I wondered WTH was up with the 'Electric Update,' until I remembered that she never had a utility bill in her name. Then I looked at the thing a little closer.

At the bottom, there's that *not affiliated with any public or private utility company.
Unfortunately, it is printed in a font so small that a person with declining vision may not notice it, so a claxxon alarm started going off.

Turn the card over and it says to "Jane...or current resident. Again, something that you wouldn't notice at first glance and this organization is hoping that the alarmed person would overlook the or current resident and rush to the phone, eager to fix their issue with the electric bill.

Except it's not the Electric Company. It's a scam organization that has been told to cease and desist due to fraudulent practices in Florida. They reopened under a new name and address (that doesn't exist, according to Google Maps). They now are known as EOF, GSS, Puronics, Great Southern Water Treatment and probably a bunch of others, but they hope that you'll call and buy their water treatment system, or insulation at the 'bargain price' of $11,000 or replace your electric meter at a charge of $100 a month...

Yeah, I know, to you it all sounds shady, and it IS. However, the audience they're targeting may not notice the fine print and call the number in a panic. They'll get the pushy person on the phone who will cajole them into making an appointment, and the 'customer service agent' will spend 3,4 or 8 hours working to wear the person down to the point that they sign an $11k contract.

Then the person will be embarrassed and won't say anything to their family members because they got suckered by this stupid postcard. This is why I'm posting the pictures and telling the tale (and putting all these tags on the post). I want to see lowlife scum like these exposed for the cockroaches they are.

Spread the word-if it doesn't come in an envelope with a return address from your utility company-IT ISN'T LEGITIMATE!


UPDATE-The day I blogged about this, I'd called the number out of curiosity and to see if we could get Jane's name removed from the list. I got a connection full of static, and a recorded message "we are busy helping others, please hold" and I hung up.

Three days later, my phone rings and it was someone from this company. "We missed your call the other day and wanted to help you." The man identified himself and I explained that they'd sent a postcard to a family member and I wanted her name removed from their list.

Thus begun his sales pitch, but this is where knowledge is power. "A lot of people are complaining about their electric bills being too high and we can help. Do you think your bill is too high? How much do you pay a month?"

I responded that our bill is much lower than even last year, which is the truth. Three months of no A/C will do that. We now keep the thermostat at 80〫instead of 75〫, because we got used to it.

"Well, we can come do a free home inspection and help you on reducing it more. Would you like that?"

Me: Well, not really. We have R35 insulation in our attic, which does a pretty good job. (White lie, it's R21.) I've put insulation up in my house before and can roll the stuff and tack it in if I need to do so. (I just will wait until November or December to get that kind of job done)

He was set off track a bit and recovered with the question, "But Polk county has high electric bills. Wouldn't you like help in ways to reduce it?"

Me: Honestly, the biggest consumption of electricity in our home is the pool. (Knowing that they can't do squat to help that.)

He then went for the mercy play, "Do you have plans to remodel your bathrooms soon?"

Me: Well, the house is only six years old and the only plans are to finally paint the walls.

He then thanks me for my time and apologizes for our family's loss. Then he hangs up, without an appointment or tentative sale.

Game. Set. Match.









2 People talked back:

Susan said...

Hi

Got a post card for Free tide with Febreze, Call Now
Return address was GSS
1608 N. ronald Reagan Blvd
Longwood, Fl 32750
No, I did not call.

Susan said...

GSS is sending post cards asking you to call to ge Free Tide with Febreze