Posted: 6/4/2021 12:55:54 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/4/2021 1:09:56 PM EDT by eracer]
This one was convoluted.
The business got a call from 'TECO' (actually, Caller ID shows it as a 'Wireless Number') advising us that we needed to pay an outstanding balance on one of our two accounts. The problem, they said, was that the full check amount had been credited to one of the accounts, leaving the other account unpaid.
They said they needed a debit card in order to prevent disconnection.
I got involved because in my mind this was a simple issue: Who made the mistake?
If we hadn't paid our bill I would have told her to pay it. But we did, and I had proof.
The fun started when I called the number the caller had given us.
The automated phone greeting sounded pretty legit [For a power outage, downed line, etc....Press 1, otherwise remain on the line.]
When I got on the line with a human, I asked to speak to an account manager. I got 'Adam.'
I tried to explain that I had the documentation to show that TECO had made an accounting error. He asked me if I was ready to make a payment. I said "No, you need to cancel the disconnect order."
He hung up on me.
I called again, and got Adam again. He hung up on me again.
I called back and got Sharon this time. Same thing. I refused to back down from telling her that we'd already paid our bill. Her next move was interesting:
"Sir, I'm trying to focus on the solution here, not the problem. Are you going to focus on the solution, or keep focusing on the problem?"
"I'm going to focus on the problem, which is that you continue to ask me to pay a bill that's already been paid."
A couple of minutes later I call a call from Jeremy, who claimed to be the technician assigned to disconnect us. I told him I was going to call the police and have them waiting.
He said, "I don't care if you call the President of the United States! I'm just hired to do my job and I'm going to do it!"
At this point I decided to call another number for TECO, not the number the scammers had given me. They explained that they'd never call. If written disconnect notices had been ignored (there were none) they'd simply disconnect the power.
They confirmed their customer database had been hacked, which explains how the scammers knew our account numbers.
As I was going through this charade I wondered why the amount they were asking for didn't exactly match what they should have been asking for. It was within $20, and I don't know the answer to that one. We don't have an online account set up.
Anyway, the number they gave us to call was 877-773-2428 (Ask for account manager and you'll get Adam, Sharon, or Richard. Or maybe you'll get Fred, Martin, and Consuela...)
Jeremy, the 'TECO' technician called me from 786-544-5935
I'd suggest changing your TECO online account password if you have one.
Just poor people trying to make ends meet........
I jokingly asked my boss if I could call them back and tell them I was going to hunt them down and do bad things to them.
She said "No." ... I will!"
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