When Making Up Fraud Becomes Fraud

, , , , , , | Working | March 25, 2020

My sister calls me panicking over the fact her heat is about to be shut off due to the fact she never paid her bill. She has just moved into her first apartment and doesn’t have the money at the moment, so I tell her she can use one of my credit cards to make the payment, and then just pay me back. She calls the heating company and they tell her that the credit card company stated it was a fraudulent charge.

I call my credit card company and they are just as confused, as they have no record of a fraudulent charge and haven’t spoken to anyone about it, either. I then call my sister again and relay the information that the payment went through on my end, so something is wrong with the heating company.

It turns out, they accidentally placed a credit on her account, realized the mistake, and withdrew the credit in addition to her payment so it looked like she still owed money. It was completely their fault, and instead of owning up to it, they made a false story about a fraudulent credit card charge to get another payment from her. My sister had a long talk with the supervisor afterward.

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Has No Power To Combat Such Stupidity

, , , , , | Right | February 25, 2020

I work for an energy company whilst searching for work to do with my degree, which is in mathematics and statistics. It’s ten minutes before closing time and by this point, I just want to get pyjamas on and sleep. A woman calls.

“I need my electricity back on.”

“Okay, I’ll have a look into that for you.”

The moment her details load up, I see what is wrong. She has not paid a bill in five months and is £700+ in debt. I check notes and she has had letters/emails/texts — the whole shebang — to tell her she will be cut off if she does not make a payment.

“Okay, I can see what is going on. It is showing here that you have not made a payment in five months and you are over £700 in debt. You have been sent confirmation of this—”

“What do you mean, I am in debt? I have been away visiting friends and when I am away visiting we do not need to pay as we are not using anything.”

This isn’t untrue, but it’s not wholly true, either. We are allowed to refund a certain amount only if there are less than ten units of usage. This woman is showing over two-hundred, so she is getting nothing.

“Well, I’m afraid to tell you that someone has been using your fuel in the time and every bill is accurate. Due to the high usage, I cannot refund you.”

“Excuse me? I have just told you I have been visiting friends and I have not been at home to use it. I want my money back.”

“Firstly, I cannot refund something that has not been paid in the first place. And someone has been using your fuel, so someone is on your property.”

“Oh, yes, my husband and son are in the house, but as it’s in my name and I was not at home, why should I have to pay?”

“You have to pay because it is your house, and your house has had the usage. I cannot turn your electricity back on without a payment of some form.”

“Well, I am not paying for something that I did not use and also I am not getting!”

“I apologise for this, but I am afraid I cannot do anything without a payment. I would be willing to set up a payment plan if you wish to clear the balance—”

“Are you listening to me? I said I am not paying for something I did not use and I am not getting.”

“I’m afraid I cannot do anything for you, nor can anyone else. You cannot get five months of free electricity, even if you were not at the property in that time.”

“Listen here, you incompetent nuisance. I know how bills work. I work for a very feared insurance company called [Company] and I also have a degree in mathematics, which I am sure you are too stupid to understand.”

I am furious and 100% done with her. I decide to kill her with kindness.

“Oh, really? Where did you study? I just graduated last month with that degree alongside statistics—”

“Stop lying to me; only school dropouts work in call centres.”

Okay, no more Mrs. Nice Lady from me.

“Okay, if you honestly think you are better than me, answer one question for me.”

“How dare you speak to me like that?! I will be filing a complaint against you for that. But since you are an idiot, I will answer.”

“What is the definition of a degree of a polynomial?”

Anyone who works in or has studied maths further will know this.

“Excuse me? I do not speak gibberish.”

“I asked what the definition of a degree of a polynomial is.”

“There is no such thing! I would have heard about that, and how dare you waste my time?! I will be filing a complaint and writing to corporate about you. Goodbye, you insolent b****!”

Then, she hung up. Since I’m a salty git, I Googled the name of the firm she supposedly works at. It’s a bakery.

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I Have No Power To Help Those Who Will Not Help Themselves

, , , , , , | Right | February 6, 2020

(I work for a company that does outsource billing support for an electric company in another state. Today, this happened.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Power Company]. My name is [My Name]; how can I help you?”

Customer: “Yeah, I need to pay my bill. I got a shut-off notice.”

Me: “Certainly, I can help you with that. Can I have your account number, please?” *looks up the account* “To keep your service on, we’d need a payment of $148.73 by 5:00 pm today. How would you like to pay that? We accept checks by phone, VISA, and MasterCard.”

Customer: “I don’t have that much.”

Me: “All right, what are you able to pay today?”

Customer: “Seventy-five bucks.”

Me: “Tell you what. I’ll set you up on a payment arrangement — $75 today and we’ll add a portion of the remainder to your next few bills until it’s paid off.”

Customer: “No! I ain’t going on a payment arrangement.”

Me: “I’m sorry?”

Customer: “Open your ears, dips***; I said I ain’t going on no f****** payment arrangement!”

Me: “First of all, please watch your language. Secondly, if you went on the arrangement you’d be back to current within a month or two, and you’d keep your electric service on in the meantime.”

Customer: “You’re going to take my $75 and you’re not shutting off my d*** service.”

Me: “Sir, if you only pay the $75 without the arrangement, I can assure you that your service will be shut off come 5:00 pm.”

(Our company uses remote capable or Smart Meters. The power goes off at 5:00 pm on the disconnect notice due date if payment or an arrangement is not made.)

Customer: “F*** you. I’ll pay it online.”

(This was around 4:30 pm. A little after 5:00, out of curiosity, I pulled up his account again. True to his word, he did pay $75 online. Yes, his service was shut off for non-payment. He called back and ended up screaming his way to a supervisor. Now, not only did he need to pay the remainder of the past due to get reconnected, but he also was charged a $500 deposit since he had been shut off before. Karma’s a b****.)

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Living In His Own Lie

, , , , | Right | January 23, 2020

(I work for a utility company in western New York. This customer calls asking for service. From time to time, people call and find out that somebody has used their info to fraudulently start service. This is not one of these situations. I have just informed this customer that he has had two different accounts under his name with our company. He insists he has never had service, so I take a closer look.)

Me: “Sir, I see here that the first address where you previously had service was taken over by your wife after your account ended.”

Customer: “I lived there but it was never in my name. It was only in my wife’s name. I have never had service; somebody must have stolen my identity.”

Me: “Hmm… I also see that the second account listed is at the very same address and it starts immediately after your wife’s account ends. You had service two times at an address where you actually lived.” 

Customer: “I don’t know how that is possible. I mean, I lived there, but I have never had service under my name. Obviously, this is fraud.” 

Me: “So, what you are saying is that somebody stole your personal info to fraudulently start service at an address where you were actually living before your wife had service there and then did it again after your wife’s account ended?”

Customer: “Yes, I think this is what has happened.”

Me: “The only way to dispute these accounts is to file a police report about your identity being stolen and fill out a fraud packet to start an investigation.”

(This usually stops the nonsense dead because nobody wants to file a false police report. Well, they have actually done this and been arrested on the spot, but I digress.)

Customer: “This is not fair. I have never had service under my name. What am I supposed to do?”

Me: “You need to be able to prove you weren’t living at an address you have already admitted that you lived in on a recorded line. “

Customer: “How much do I have to pay?”

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This One Is A Wild Card

, , , | Right | January 4, 2020

Me: Thank you for calling [Utility Company]. My name is [My Name].”

Customer: “I am calling because I cancelled my credit card and you are using it to pay one of my accounts. I need help figuring out which one it is so I can change the card number.”

Me: “I would be happy to help! I can tell you [Utility Company] does not keep any credit card info on file for any reason. We use the customer’s bank information — the routing and account number.”

Customer: “So, how do I delete the card from your system?”

Me: “Well, ma’am, it is not there to delete. We don’t keep anyone’s credit card info on file, ever.”

Customer: “So, how do I figure out which account you are using to pay the bill?”

Me: *facepalm* “Ma’am, what I am telling you is that we do not have your card information, or anyone’s card information for that matter. There is none to find as we never keep any card numbers on file.”

Customer: *angrily as she feels she has me caught in a lie* “Well, it shows here on my statement that you are taking payments from my card!”

Me: *calmly and politely* “Ma’am, we keep no credit card info in our system. Each time a customer makes a payment with a credit card they give us the number and we enter it manually. No credit card info is ever kept on file. There is no place to look for it and no information to delete or update because it is not in our system.”

Customer: “Well, why didn’t you tell me that in the first place?!” *click*

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