IDT Energy Still Scamming New York Residents

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…

I reside in Brooklyn-This morning I happened to have had a visit from IDT energy salespeople-I have seen a few scams in my life and this is up there with many of the best.

Their M.O.was to ask whether I have received a 7% discount on my Con ed bill and if not whether they could check this on my con ed bill-Their was no mention of whether they are from IDT etc.

They carry a few Con Ed bills in their binder and they flash them around so that you think they are from Con Ed. One of them also carried an authentic looking meter reader-When I produced the bill, one of them starts writing the name, address and account number for me to sign. This is on IDT stationery but the top of the stationery is conveniently covered with a note pad.

I happened to notice ‘transfer request’(or something to that effect)somewhere on their stationery and took my Con Ed bills back-I then also realized that the top of the stationery, earlier hidden by the pad, is now visible which leads me to ask them what do they have to do with Con Ed-the answer cleverly camouflaged is that IDT is the energy provider to Con Ed.

I called IDT’s offices and asked them to refrain from using such misleading marketing methods as there are quite a few older people living in the neighborhood who may not realize what they are signing. After telling the operator that I will go ahead and warn my neighbors of this scam-the answer essentially was that I don’t know what my neighbors have been told and that they have to decide for themselves whether they want to switch or not. This is the first time the word ‘switch’ has been used.

I don’t know and don’t care what their rates are but I can deduce that if any company has to use such devious methods to enlist customers the rates must be astronomical.



The bad news is that these ESCOs like to target elderly and non-native English speakers who may not realize what’s going on, and could get hit with a hefty bill once their energy costs go from a fixed rate to a variable one subject to the volatility of the spot-energy market.

The good news is that if you find yourself tricked into switching from your regular service provider to IDT Energy, or any other kind of ESCO, it’s pretty easy to undo. Just call your old service provider and tell them you want to switch back.

The bad news is that some consumers may not realize what happened and get stuck paying those hefty bills.

What makes this story even better is that ConEd just renamed itself National Grid, so it looks like these shady salesmen will have to get themselves new outfits.

In a related story, we once sent a reporter undercover to work at an IDT Energy sales office.

(Photo: Getty)


Edit Your Comment

  1. AD8BC says:

    Well wouldn’t you want to cut the middleman and purchase your energy direct from the National Grid?

  2. skittlbrau says:

    IDT stops by my apartment building at least once a week (I too live in Brooklyn). Luckily everyone in my building is young and a native english speaker, so they rarely even get inside.

    I worry for the older folks living on my street though. My neighborhood has gotten expensive, and i doubt many can handle a super high power bill.

  3. harumph says:

    One of these douchebags walked into my apartment building behind an electrician who was working in the basement. He scared my girlfriend who was home alone and freaked out an elderly couple downstairs. He got the couplet o sign papers but the husband managed to get his paperwork back before the guy left the building. Totally shady and slimy.

  4. Ben Popken says:

    @AD8BC: The pitch by ESCOS is that they can save you money over the regular energy company by purchasing your energy on the spot energy market.

  5. chiieddy says:

    These idiots really ought to be reported to the NY Attorney General’s office each time someone experiences these tactics. They have to be illegal.

  6. Usedtobeme says:

    i used to work for infinite energy we also serviced coned and national grid. We were told to pitch the same way, did u recieve your seven percent discount well let me get it aplied for u right away! i felt sleasy especially cause we mainly targeted the elderly. needless to say i quit a week later. The worst part is what they do not tell you…..and that is that it can take up to three months to switch back to the utility and all the while they are making money on you!

  7. rmz says:

    It’s time for another undercover op!

  8. AD8BC says:

    @Ben Popken: I know, I was being facetious :-)

  9. Narockstar says:

    Ugh. My roommates and I got scammed when we lived in Washington Heights. Now I’m in Brooklyn and the last time one of these jerks interrupted my dinner I threatened to call the police. He yelled in my face, “I’m not IDT. I didn’t say I was IDT. Go ahead, call the cops. I have every right to be here, etc.” I shut the door in his face, but I have to say, I was glad that I had company over because that guy was getting hostile.

  10. Odwalla says:

    I guess I didn’t get the memo stating that “-” was the new “.”-I will have to change all of my existing manuscripts now-Thank you S.J. for showing the error of my ways-By the way, why is “.” still acceptable for abbreviations?-Wouldn’t your initials be S-J- in the new “-” world order?-

  11. FessLove says:

    I remember when Consumerist went undercover with these guys. Now THAT was some investigative reporting. Unlike the complaint about having to pay 10 cents extra for a cheeseburger. Those were the good old days of the Consumerist. And for the record, these IDT guys are nothing but con artists.

  12. @AD8BC: Uh, because National Greed sucks? They ate our provider (Niagara Mohawk) a couple years ago.

  13. chrisjames says:

    @Odwalla: Well, S-J- was easily duped into giving a couple of strangers knocking on his door his ConEd bills with the hint of a discount-That might help shed some light on the person-Seriously, did S-J- really think there wasn’t an angle?-Come on people-Use the noggins.

  14. skittlbrau says:

    I knew Keyspan was turning into National Grid. Now ConEd too?

  15. kintarokm23 says:

    Con Ed did NOT rename themselves National Grid. They are 2 completely different companies. I believe National Grid is a gas provider (maybe Keyspan renamed themselves?) Con Ed is still Con Ed, I was just in their corporate headquarters yesterday.

  16. Juggernaut says:

    @chiieddy: Spitzer was on this but then got on the hooker…


  17. mariospants says:

    Good reason to keep some fake ConEd bills on hand with made-up names like “Fhak Yu”. I’ll bet it costs these jokers money to process the paperwork and it eats up the salespeople’s time to boot.

  18. AidelMaidel says:

    Only Keyspan became National Grid. Con Edison is still Con Edison.

  19. skittlbrau says:

    @AidelMaidel: Thats what I thought.

  20. Yup. These guys come to my building in Brooklyn about once each month, identifying themselves as “the electric company.”

    It’s usually young kids.

  21. acknight says:

    Interesting. Up in Syracuse, NY just yesterday, a guy came on a similar mission. I quickly sent him on his way, but it appeared to be the same (or a similar) plan. Up here it’s National Greed (Grid) for both electric and gas.

  22. Anonymous says:

    How do I contact IDT energy to cancel these services. The sales boy just left an hour ago and was very misleading. It was my fault to sign but he sold me a good line. I have been trying to call the 1-800 number, but they’re having technical difficulties. I want this canceled immediately. HELP!