Watch out! Door-to-door energy scam hits Central Texas - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

CENTRAL TEXAS

Watch out! Door-to-door energy scam hits Central Texas

by Henry Rosoff

WACO - Fake energy company salesmen are going door-to-door in McLennan County trying to con elderly and handicapped people out of their money.

East Waco residents Margaret Whittaker and her husband Robert, were targeted by the scammers.  A fake TXU Energy salesmen approached their door at 8 o'clock Wednesday night.

"First of all I said: ‘What are you doing coming out this late? TXU would never send anyone out this late,'" Margaret said.

The salesman was wearing a home-made badge and claimed he was with "TXU Choice."  He wanted to see the Whittaker's most recent bill and promised he could save the couple money.  He also asked for Margaret's social security number.

"He was pretty aggressive," Whittaker said.  "He was like: ‘You can't find a copy of your bill?'  And I was like: ‘No, I know where it is.   You can't get a copy of it until I talk to TXU."

Sensing a scam, Whittaker told the man to leave.  She did not see a marked TXU vehicle in sight.

Whittaker called TXU and a service representative confirmed her fear.

"She said it was a scam," Whittaker said.  "She said what they're doing is they're getting your bill, writing down your number, and then putting another company on it, and then you'll end up getting two bills."

Whittaker's neighbors told News Channel 25 they recently have seen the same group of men approaching houses in their neighborhood.  They said the men are targeting elderly people in houses with wheel-chair ramps.

News Channel 25 was also contacted by people in Hewitt and McGregor, who report they had a encounter with the scammers.

TXU spokeswoman Sophia Stoller said all billing changes are handled on the phone.  She also said their door-to-door salesmen never approach after dark, an illegal practice in the City of Waco.

The whole experience has people like Whittaker scared and angry.

"I started calling my senior citizen friends, and said: ‘Do not let anyone come and tell you there can lower your bill.'"

However, there are legitimate door-to-door energy salesmen operating in McLennan County.  "First Choice Power" has salesmen in the area who operate legally.  However, News Channel 25 viewers have become confused about their operation because of the "TXU Choice" scam.

For tips on how to differentiate fake salesmen from fake salesmen see the below tips.


Real Energy Salesmen vs. Fake Energy Salesmen

      Real Energy Salesmen:

  • Will always be in uniform and have a clearly marked car parked in front of your house or apartment complex.
  • Will carry a badge stating the name of their company and an employee identification number.  There should also be phone number on the back of the badge you can dial to verify the person is legitimate.
  • Are not allowed to solicit after dark in most cities, including Waco.
  • Must leave immediately when you instruct them to leave.
  • Are out there.  "First Choice Power" is a legitimate energy provider with door-to-door salesmen in the greater Waco area.  They are NOT to be confused with "TXU Choice," a fake company, not affiliated with TXU.
  • Source: TXU Energy and First Choice Power

      Fake Energy Salesmen:

  • Will ask to see recent energy bill statements.
  • Will solicit after dark.
  • Will not drive a marked car.
  • May continue to push a sale even after being told to leave.
  • Should be immediate reported to police.
  • Source: Citizens who have encountered "TXU Choice," a fake company
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