Identity theft is rising in the recession, according to a Brooklyn public defender I talked to at a party this weekend. Most often the crime starts with the perp stealing the victim’s checkbook, he said.
Spotted this sign on a Brooklyn BP gas pump last night, taking pains to point out that they are charging customers the same price whether they use cash or credit. Interesting, because last year around this time we ran a few stories about gas stations who doing the opposite. The thing is, credit card companies charge merchants various transaction fees to process the cards. If retailers can’t assess those fees to the customers who actually incur them, the business has to raise prices on everything for everyone.
It’s the end of an era. The parentally-subsidized idle urbanites of New York aren’t getting the fundage they used to, and they have to get paying jobs now. Or move in with their parents. (Here I thought living with my parents after college was too much parental subsidy.) While Gawker’s coverage of this story is not to be missed, let’s look at it through a Consumerist lens, shall we?
Lock your doors, Queens residents! IDT zombies are on the prowl in your borough, and if they catch you they’ll try to eat your ConEd account and replace it with their more expensive offer. Jeff says there’s one outside his building right now, trying to buzz its way in.
Reader Niklas says IDT Energy stole his dog from his house. Niklas says that an IDT Energy rep knocked on his door around 1pm on Friday, March 6, and when he opened it, his 5-year old Yorkshire terrier Milo ran out into the hall. Niklas sent the IDT Energy person on their way, but couldn’t find his dog. Other neighbors later reported…
Sick of their neighborhood getting overrun by ESCO Slammers, salesmen who pretend to be from your energy provider and trick people into signing over to their energy resale service, some Brooklyn citizens put together this flyer. The Concerned Citizens of Greenwood Heights posted it in their ‘hood and put it online for other people to use too. The flyer talks about IDT Energy and Con Ed, but you could edit it to be for your locality if you wanted to, too. Cool to see people banding together to fight the ESCO-slamming scourge.
Here’s part 2 of FIPS investigation into why the Target at the Brooklyn Atlantic Center is the Worst Target Ever Created. Their video crew probes more into the shelves that are at best, disheveled, and at worst, empty. When we posted the first video, some said Target should get a break, they’re recovering from the holidays. Well, this one was shot 15 days after the holidays. It still looks like crap. It also looked like crap before the holidays too. The real culprit? Management that doesn’t care and poorly trained employees. C’mon, Target Corp, you need to send an attack squad to fix this store. It looks like a freakin’ TJ MAXX. Video inside [NSFW, curseywords].
The FIPS blog, via undercover video (which contains NSFW curse words in textual format), attempts to uncover why the Target at the Atlantic Center Mall in Brooklyn is the absolute worst Target ever created. See, you people in the suburbs, with your nice Targets where products are arranged on the shelves in a sensible matter and the floors are clean and the lights are bright, probably don’t get it. This Target is like a Kmart that got too depressed to be physically able to put its shoes on in the morning. I know of this particular Target and speak from experience. So the FIPs people don’t get anywhere close to finding out why the Target is so bad, but they do approach its pathos. (The girl in the video blames the disarray on “the weekend” and “time of year.” Not true. It’s ALWAYS like that). Video inside…
Energy scammers are still stalking the good people of Brooklyn, according to the Gowanus Lounge. Not only are they going door-to-door, but now they’re calling, too. Remember: if some stranger calls claiming that they are from a company you do business with and asks you to “confirm you account information,” tell them you’ll call them back at their usual number and hang up. [Gowanus Lounge] (Thanks, Chris!)
Passed by a WaMu on my lunchbreak as I wait to see if I will have jury duty – the place looked no busier than a normal bank during lunch hour. No runs on the bank here in Brooklyn so far.
Google now helps catch criminals. The FBI identified a Citibank PIN thief by cross-referencing security camera footage with an ICQ handle and personal photos on ham radio enthusiasts sites. [Information Week]
A reader writes: “Another day, another energy scammer in Brooklyn. This was the most misleading one yet—a man was walking around and banging on every door up and down the hallways of my building—identifying himself as having been “sent by building management about our ConEd bill.” So I ran and got my video camera, which also serves as a digital voice recorder. Here is the conversation…The gentleman vacillated between telling the truth, misleading me and completely lying.”
It looks like IDT Energy sales reps are back to their old tricks of getting customers to switch from ConEd by posing as ConEd workers and using misleading sales tactics. S.J. in Brooklyn has the report…
The Mission: A year-long effort to meet the laborers and craftsmen who build what I buy – and put a human face on consumption. For every transaction, there must be a personal connection with someone along the production chain.
Sounds tiring. [Gothamist]
I live in a 750 square foot apartment in Brooklyn, NY. Per the lease agreement, my roommate and I signed to pay the heat separate from the rent. The first gas bill we received was $750, and the following gas bill was roughly the same amount. We knew that the price of gas was expensive, but for two people who make great pains to use the heat only when absolutely necessary, and occasionally use the stove to boil a pot of water, this seemed ridiculous. For all of 2007, we owe roughly $2000 in gas costs.
A Cablevision tech support rep told us that if your Cablevision tech arrives past the service window, you’re entitled to a $20 credit (this press release supports it). And if you’re in the Bronx or Brooklyn, you can get a free month of cable TV if the tech shows up late (this is applied on a case-by-case basis but it is possible. Should the tech pull a noshow, call customer service and speak to a supervisor, who may offer you credits (usually $40-$50) or a free month depending on your customer history. Inside, Which customer service number to call, based on the first four digits of your account number:
I waited all morning for Verizon to come fix our landline (our cell phones barely work in our apartment), and around 11:30 I had Sam call them from work, and they told him they had come by the apartment and no one was there so they left, and that they had called my cell phone.