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Scammers Targeting The Jewish Community

Scammers targeting the neighborhood going door-to-door.

An alert resident informed us that he was targeted by these scammers and did some research and found out what it was all about, as you will see in the article below. We hope this will help others from not being conned

The scam works as follows: The bell rings. A guy is by the door, claiming to be from Con Edison. He claims he was in the neighborhood and wanted to check on customers who might be eligible for a discount on their bill. He shows the unsuspecting resident a Con Ed bill that shows that the person can save money…

Being suspicious, the alert resident asked the guy for ID. He blushed and stuttered, stating that he is actually with IDT Energy, and showed him a concealed ID tag stating so. The resident said, “as far as I know, IDT is a phone service”, to which he replied, “all of you guys say that. IDT is also an energy company; we supply Con Edison with their energy.”

At that moment, the resident recalled that the same company with the same story approached a neighbor of his. Apparently, IDT is a reseller of energy. They claim to be with Con Edison and will not admit to otherwise unless confronted. They conned his neighbor into signing contracts and documents, all of which had no ConEd logos whatsoever, with the impression that they were simply lowering their bills while maintaining the same ConEd service.

Once they were signed up, they received terrible service, if at all, the bills were way higher than before, and there was no way to get out of the contract, nor any competent customer service to speak of.

The alert resident told the guy he was not interested and the guy left, after which the resident did some research to what he believed to be a scam, and discovered that this con has been plaguing the entire New York area, specifically the immigrant and elderly population.

It is very easy for unsuspecting residents to be conned into unknowingly switching their service to a higher-priced and unreliable service – all under false pretense.

The following are articles from reputable sources reporting on this widespread scam. Beware!

1) A reputable consumer web site with numerous links to information about this scam – http://www.consumerist.com/consumer/idt%20energy/ [1]

2) http://www.queenstribune.com/news/1156012033.html [2]

3) http://www.consumerist.com/consumer/idt-energy/idt-energy-bilks-grandpa-191143.php [3]

4) http://www.blogowogo.com/blog_article.php?aid=460006&t=12 [4]

24 Comments (Open | Close)

24 Comments To "Scammers Targeting The Jewish Community"

#1 Comment By Crown Heightser On January 24, 2007 @ 3:47 pm

Does anybody know what to do if you signed up? Please post any information. Thanks

#2 Comment By ch resident On January 24, 2007 @ 4:09 pm

yeh help!! what if we already signed up? are you sure it is a scam? what is the scam? do they or do they not supply the energy and is it definelty more expensive? i recently signed and havent received a bill yet!

#3 Comment By crown heightser On January 24, 2007 @ 4:04 pm

I had these agents come to my door. I did sign up with them (this was back in August) and it is a legit company. IDT Energy 1-877-887-6866. They oficially save you 7% on your bill. Was is a good idea to switch…still not sure, but defenately was NOT a scam. It is possible there are scammers out there but you should know there is also a real company as well.

#4 Comment By Mendy Hecht On January 24, 2007 @ 4:37 pm

I cannot tell you what to do if you signed up, but, having some experience with at least two or three of these guys (some of them came in pairs, but usually alone), they ring your tell, tell you they’re from “ConEd IDT” or soemthign like that, and ask you if you could show them your bill because “they need to make sure your bill is correct.” [Riiiiiiiiiiight–they need to send people all over Brooklyn because they don’t have central computers.] Then they get you to sign papers that transfer your utility service (or your phone service, in a parallel scam).

I spoke to the authorities on this issue: the Public Service Commission. The guy there was friendly and told me you need to find out the actual name of the company they’re really from, not who they claim to be from. The only way to do this would be to play along long enough so as to see what the papers actually say. BTW, DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING! Once you know who they really are, not who they claim to be, then call the Public service commission. (can’t find their number right now, used to ahve it.) The PSC guy told me that the only way they can bust these guys–and they can, big time–is only if they know which company they really are. (He also told me they target poor urban areas, like ours.) This takes some research. If you want to bother to find out this info while they’re at your door, do NOT ask for ID, beccause then they’ll realize you’re on to them, not like the unsuspecting peopel who just fall for it without asking any question. If, however, you want to jsut tell them to get lost, just ask for ID and they’ll usually say something like (as they did to me several time), “Um, I’m new so I don’t have my ID yet.” To which you may elect to respond, as I once did, ‘yeah, and I’m from the NYPD, but i, um, just don’t have any ID.” They’ll leave. Once I started yelling at the guy and he got nasty, so do be careful, though.

#5 Comment By fact On January 24, 2007 @ 4:54 pm

Con Edison has a monopoly on providing energy. IDT is one of about a dozen energy companies that provides Con Ed with the Juice. When these representatives came to my appartment they told me that they are competing against the other companies to get ConEd to buy more juice from them [IDT]. And they are going to cut up to 10% of your ConEd bill if you show support for them.

They are not a service provider, your article has wrong facts.

After they were at my appartment I went online and read more on the issue and even spoke to ConEd about it. Apparently IDT wants to become a service provider of electricity in the near future and all they need is a large amount of signatures of people who would prefer them over ConEd, in order to brake the ConEd monopoly.

again, the above story got its facts wrong – although after checking your links I’ve come to the conclusion that some people were indeed scamed, but it does not seem like it was by IDT, I would say it was private scammers.

#6 Comment By mn On January 24, 2007 @ 6:55 pm

“Unreliable service”?????.

I don’t think it’s possible for their service to be any less (or more) reliable than con edison.

regardless of who you sign up to buy your electric from, it’s still delivered by the same wires on the same electric grid as everyone else in the city.

this company couldn’t shut your electriclity remotely even if they wanted to. the system just doesn’t work that way.

#7 Comment By To Mr. Fact On January 24, 2007 @ 6:02 pm

My ConEd bill went up 40% after we signed with IDT. If they in fact are supposed to be lowering my prices why am I paying more?

#8 Comment By techonut On January 24, 2007 @ 5:56 pm

what does “terrible service” mean? Did IDT get on a truck, cut ConEd’s power lines, and string theirs instead?

#9 Comment By Question? On January 24, 2007 @ 6:04 pm

Isn’t IDT owned by frummer yidden in NJ?

#10 Comment By Shmuli On January 24, 2007 @ 5:28 pm

I have a bussines where a manager of mine signed an agreement with a company named US energy savings corp, They claimed they will reduce the bills by 13 Percent. 3 Months later I realized something was teribly wrong with my electric. my bills were 3 times higher than what I was paying before. First I thought I had someone stealing electricity on my line. I called in an expert to see if there is anything going on my account and they shut off all electric and the meter showed zero activity. Then they sugested to review my bill and they found a buch of hidden charges by this fraudelent US Energy Savings Corp. When I called them asking to explain what these charges are they told me its called “customer Charges” when I asked them what that means they refused to explain. They insisted that Con Ed charges the same thing.

My average Con Ed bill was $1200 to $1500
my bills with this scam company were ranging between $3300 to $5700 a month.

when i asked them to remove me from their “Discount Program” they told me that I was bound by “Contract” to remain with their plan and if I went back to con ed I would be penalized $15,000 for breaking the contract.

I called Con Ed and they said they can’t be of any help. But they told me to call the Public Service Comission.

It took time but we are in the procces of geting back to Con Ed.

#11 Comment By TOSHAV HASCHUNA On January 24, 2007 @ 7:03 pm


#12 Comment By Declined the offer On January 24, 2007 @ 7:22 pm

They came to my door to sign me up…I was intrigued at the promise of lower prices but once they asked for a copy of my bill, I decided to take the safe route and politely told the guy I was not interested.

House to house salespeople are not common anymore, hence it is much more likely that they are out to rip you off……..

It is best to be careful about any papers you sign since they may have fine print obligating you to stay on for a given amount of time.

With ConEd I could shut off service whenever I chose to do so.

#13 Comment By Miriam On January 24, 2007 @ 9:10 pm

I signed up 5 years ago very much the same way described above with a company called Econnergy which is a company that gives tzedaka to Israeli organizations like ZACA, my rate is variable, I didn’t find that I actually paid more or less, right now is .10 cents plus .69 for delivery, I had had no problems what so ever with my electric service.

#14 Comment By resident On January 24, 2007 @ 9:04 pm

Just this evening we had a door-to-door salesman offer us optimum cable. We took a business card and are considering switching. Anyone have some sense\cents to share on this?

#15 Comment By Original Author of Article On January 24, 2007 @ 10:00 pm

They are not a scam per se, but they use blatant impostering and misrepresentation as theit unethical tactics.

They use what is called “variable rate pricing” where they initially provide you with a lower rate, and then increase it a month or 2 later once you are hooked.

ATTN: ch resident

Another thing to be aware of is that according to former neighbor of mine who was conned by these lowlife scum, is that they went 6 months with no bill too and were quite pleased.

After 6 months, Con Ed came down and disconnected their power, stating that they had not paid their bill for 6 months, and now owed A LOT of money. They explained that they switched providers but Con Ed said they knew nothing about it. They finally worked out an installment plan.

Those who are smart will beware. Those who insist that they are okay and proceed to sign, deserve what happens next.

#16 Comment By canada-s cheeper On January 24, 2007 @ 11:31 pm

Guys, move to Montreal we are all only getting energy from one goverment owned compagnie!
life is simpler and cheeper on this side of the border!
best of luck with all that!

#17 Comment By re: canada-s cheeper On January 25, 2007 @ 1:08 am

“unzere Zeburis iz besser fun zayere Eideis”
not even if it was for free.

#18 Comment By been there, done that. On January 25, 2007 @ 1:43 am

I also signed up with econergy a few years ago. They are owned by frum people, but their business practices are far from ehrlich. After saving a few dollars in the first year, my bills went WAY up and it took many calls etc. to try to straighten it out. When I tried to switch back to Con Ed they purposely shlepped it out for two extra months, which cost even more money. I agree with most of the other comments. Stay away from these “resellers:” they are only qualified to sell you a song and dance and make you overpay for it.

#19 Comment By a sucker-s born every 60 seconds On January 25, 2007 @ 11:09 am

unfortunately I fell for this scam, until I got my bill – it was double. I called IDT right away and cancelled thier service. BH Coned was able to cancel IDT’s service over the phone. Let’s see what happens when I get my next bill.

Scam: probably not, but that doesn’t make it the right thing to do.

my advice – don’t do it.

#20 Comment By almost victim On January 25, 2007 @ 9:47 am

You can cancel within a few days after signing up. I made the same mistake and signed up for this service. My husband came home and couldnt beleive i had signed up. To make a long story short, i looked at the papers, of course couldnt beleive myself that i had signed up when the papers do not say con-ed at all. On the papers it says exactly how many days you have to cancel. I canceled the next morning and they didnt make me an problem to do so.

#21 Comment By anonymous On January 25, 2007 @ 9:05 am

I feel so fooled. I knew it looked suspicious but the women spent 15 minutes proving and promising me that nothing will change, it will only lower my costs. It seems foolish to resist. Now I see it was foolish to not trust my instict.
Thank you for brining it to the awareness of the public and helping others avoid this mistake. I hope I can rectify what was done.

#22 Comment By :-) On January 25, 2007 @ 5:54 pm

i BH have no problems with IDT, my bill was lower but not by much, figured give a yid parnosa as oppose to coned.

#23 Comment By Leibish On January 26, 2007 @ 12:36 am

Im not sure its a scam. The offficial NY State website gives out a list of escos as an alternative to Keyspan or Con Ed. Either way, it is good to be catious about pricing because it is possible that you may end up paying even more for some reason.

#24 Comment By they came to me On January 25, 2007 @ 7:36 pm

the guy came to my house a few weeks ago. he looked no older than 20-22 yrs old. He came with a black loose leaf binder with a con-ed bill on the cover. when he told me what he wants i asked him for ID – he didnt have so i said leave or else i call the cops. i must say he took off pretty fast