I've just had yet another call claiming to help the consumer save (very specific, this one) "7% of your energy bill." Again referencing the amazing government program, the tape also stated this company was reaching out to "all customers of Con Edison."
It was irresistible. So I pressed '5' to speak with an operator. Oh, happy day! The tape informed me that all calls would be monitored for quality assurance and training purposes!
- The operator "Keith Andrews" spoke with a decided Indian accent.
I should make an aside here to note that I'm aware how standard this practice is. I once worked for a company with a large offshore division. Our Mumbai client-facing team members were each assigned an "American" name. It's meant to deflect the known consumer resistance to offshore call centers.
- Anyway, "Keith" immediately asked the name of my utility company. I did my best dingbat and said "don't you know? You just said this call was for customers of Con Edison." We had a jolly little circular conversation in this manner for almost a minute.
- Finally, I said: "Wait, I'm confused. Are you from Con Edison?"
- He explained that he was from Kiwi Energy. I even had him spell the name, to make sure I had it right.
- I asked if he was from New Zealand, a very poor joke that he didn't get. He reassured me, "No, Kiwi Energy, right here in Brooklyn."
- I acted confused again and said "I still don't understand, what does this have to do with Con Edison?"
At that point, the line went dead.
Naturally I did a search. Indeed there is a company called Kiwi Energy. They are not a service organization nor are they in Brooklyn. According to their website, Kiwi Energy is "a private oil & natural gas exploration and development company located in Houston, Texas."
So the scammers are too lazy to even set up a proper shell company of their own! Not only do they want to steal your identity, they've already stolen a corporate identity in order to do it!