It's getting to be that time of the year-- tax season means scam season in West Michigan. As you may have already noticed, it seems there have been a number of scams going around in recent months. Everything from outstanding warrants to fake speeding tickets, but authorities are urging Kalamazoo residents to be aware of a new tactic scammers are using to squeeze money out of local residents.
Well, the idea itself is not anything new but authorities are asking residents to be on alert nonetheless. A Texas Corners resident on Reddit warned of some very official-looking gas and energy consultants knocking on local's doors. Unfortunately, u/IAM_DREWCAREY_AMA's story doesn't have a happy ending.
Just a heads up… we had a scammer in our neighborhood this evening going door to door regarding gas/energy prices. They ask to see your energy bill and claim they can lower the rate that what you’re paying. I’m not going to lie, I got got.
As it turns out, this Reddit user was not the only one to see these new scammers lurking around Kalamazoo-area neighborhoods. Those who have come in contact with these scammers say the "consultation" starts off friendly, but can quickly turn aggressive.
I’ve had them come to my house before. Started off being polite and telling her I wasn’t interested then when I went to close the door, she grabbed it and put her foot in my door to stop me from closing it. Told me she wasn’t leaving until she saw my bill... They get belligerent. If they overstep, don’t be afraid to call the police.
Though the consultation these scammers are offering is technically legal, what's illegal is for them to say they're with a bonafide energy company like Consumers Energy. It appears these folks usually pop-up in neighborhoods where legitimate energy companies have just visited. Convenient timing!
u/AdvanceDry2521 explains how the process works,
They adjust your gas bill and by signing the paperwork you’re allowing them to, their gas prices are not regulated in MI. So when you sign it, you give up the right for it to be monitored or what not. So they scam you into thinking you are remaining with your consumers gas and they are just simply switching you the natural gas and it’s cheaper but in reality after the first month they can easily charge you whatever they want with no reason behind it and they are just a third party gas provided essentially...The main scam is the person acting as if they are already with the company you use and not explaining it properly...That’s what I got from when I spoke to consumers.
It's important to keep your guard up any time of the year, but even moreso during tax season. Have you seen these scammers in your neighborhood lately?