Wednesday, April 2, 2014


Hubby says the neighbors are going to think I am growing marijuana.  My Money Tree is taking off.

Good morning, everyone.  Went back to the Center for the first time in a week. I'm still not totally up to par, but I really did have to get out, and I am sure I am past the contagious stage.  Guess what?  I won the jackpot at bingo.  It wasn't much...$16...but I never win, and it made me feel good.

Then when I was coming home from the Center just as an ESCO agent was leaving my apartment building.  The man was just about to the corner when hubby stepped out of the building and saw me.  "Here she is." he cried out to the man.  "This man is from Con Edison," he told me. "He said they owe us money." So, we all headed back to the apartment, and the first thing the man did is introduce himself identify himself as an employee of  Con Ed. Then he went on to explain that the rates had been lowered and he wanted to see my latest bill to make sure I was being charged the correct percentage.

But, as I listened it became more and more apparent that this man did NOT work for Con Ed, that he had misrepresented himself and was actually working for an ESCO. These alternative companies can be ruthless. At this point I asked him point blank several times "Are you SURE that you work for Con Ed?"  I just wanted an honest answer.  Finally, I said "Let me have your name.  I will call Con Ed to verify."  

At this point he started carrying on that 'Con Ed delivers the energy, but where do I think they get it?"  From his company, of course, and by signing with them I will be getting a discount because my energy will be coming directly from the middle man.  I now told him he was wasting my time, that I was going to continue dealing with Con Ed.  Now he begins throwing all kinds of crap at me, yelling over me as I tell him "I am not changing."  Finally I asked him to leave my house, and just before he left he told me, "I want you to remember this day.  Con Ed has a huge rate increase in store, and you are going to be very sorry you didn't listen to me."

I am so sorry now that I did not call immediately to report him and his heavy-handed techniques, but I am certainly glad that I put a block on last year so that no energy alternatives can sign me. Otherwise, the man may have caught hubby again. Whew!!! Sigh of relief.

Not all ESCO companies area scam, but one  needs to be very careful.  Last year I came home from work one afternoon and discovered that hubby had signed me up for one.  A salesman had come by offering a service cheaper than Con Edison, and to make a long story short, the salesman talked hubby into signing up for it. Problem was, the bill is in MY name and they had no right signing allowing him to sign for me.  We have different names. I promptly called the company and demanded to be cancelled.  Then I called Con Ed and had a block put on. No one can sign me up unless I, personally, take the block off, and with hubby as gullible as he is, I don't plan on doing that any time soon.

Now, why an ESCO may provide cheaper bills,I don't like the fact that I would be receiving two from them for the electricity and the other from Con Ed for delivering it. Heck, I have enough trouble keeping track of the bills I have. I also did research and discovered that many who signed up with these companies were complaining that their bills were not as low as they had been originally promised, and several even complained that when they were a day or two late with their payment, they were charged exorbitant fees. But personally, my biggest turn off is their salesmen's tactics.

We all have to be so careful.  The scammers are all around us just lying there in wait thinking of more and more ways to con us out of our money. Especially us senior citizens.  They see us as ripe for the picking.  And while most of us are pretty much on top of things, I see that many of the ladies at the Center are not at all savvy.  Most are widowed and have never worked.  Many don't own a computer and don't want one. And many of them don't even have cable.  So, not too long ago the director brought a police detective  to the Center to talk about the latest phone scams.  I am sure most of you have heard of these.

You receive a phone call from someone with an Indian accent who CLAIMS he works for Microsoft.  They tell you that they have discovered a virus on your computer that only THEY can get rid of and direct you to go to a website and allow them control of your computer in order to install an antivirus. Once you do, you are finished. (They have tried this one on me.)

In yet another telephone scam, a man with an Indian accent (seems they all have Indian accents) calls and tells you he is from a compensation program for women that have taken birth control. He said that because I have taken birth control I am eligible for compensation. Now, as a woman who had a difficult time becoming pregnant in the first place,  I have never taken birth control in my life. So, when I advised him that I had never taken birth control and asked how he came across my number, he promptly hung up. I am sure if I had told him I had taken birth control, he would have said that if I sent money to a certain place, I could then get huge compensation, etc.

People from all over the country are being contacted by scammers who pretend they are IRS agents nd demanding that they pay taxes they don’t even owe, by either loading money on a prepaid card or sending it via a wire transfer. Those who refuse to pay immediately are then threatened by the “IRS agents.” The threats include jail time, deportation, or the suspension of the victim’s business or driver’s license.  The IRS will NEVER call or email you.  According to the police officer, you should tell the caller that you will call the IRS.  Most likely he will give you a number to call, which, of course, is fake.  NEVER call it back.  Always dial the IRS directly.

Take a look at this beautiful sky.  Took this picture last evening.

Perhaps the biggest crooks are the government; namely, New York State.  Wish I could get out of this state.  Went to take care of my taxes last night.  I'd done them myself but never sent them in because I thought I just HAD to be doing something wrong.  Why would I have to pay the city and state over three hundred dollars when I hadn't even made that much?  So, I found a place that worked with seniors; volunteers donated their time every Tuesday evening.  Sadly, I'd been right.  I get about $600 back from the IRS, but $342 of that has to go to the state.  Just can't win.  I guess I am not rich enough to get away with tax breaks. 

And finally, just last night my land line rang, and when I picked it up, a recording came on a call asking to press #1 to unlock my prepaid credit card.  Said that card was locked due to suspicious activity  and asked me to unlock it. Since I do not have, and have never had, a prepaid Mastercard, I knew instantly it was a scam and  am guessing this is a phishing attempt to get people's account numbers. 

So, as you can see they are out there waiting for a chance to catch us.  Be aware.  Be careful.  These scam artists are professionals. Remember. Everyone is a potential victim


  1. You are wise to be so vigilant, Mary! Scammers are everywhere, as you say. That's why we have call display on our phone. If we don't recognize the phone number when the phone rings, we just don't answer. If it's a legit call, they can leave a voicemail. They never do, of course.

  2. Oh yes! Rotten apple scammers are everywhere. You're smart to be cautious.. it really pays to be that way.

    We don't answer our phone if we don't recognize the number either. And Debra is right. They don't leave voicemails, so we get lots of hangup 'messages' on our machine. I wonder in which circle of Hell scammers end up? I'll need to reread 'The Inferno'. Lol

  3. There is very little honesty left in this world. I feel sorry for those who do not know about these spammers. The rest of us are now going to have to be suspicious of everyone.What a sad world. I'm glad that you outsmarted that guy. What a terrible way to make a living.