SOLAR WEBSITE AND CALL CENTER SCAMS
It's been said that solar
telemarketers are worse than debt collectors.
Once a solar telemarketer gets a hold of your phone number, you can say goodbye to your privacy !
Today, solar energy is an immensely popular subject. After all, who wouldn't want to get rid of their ever increasing electric bills with no money out of pocket ? Unfortunately when any subject gains the worldwide recognition that solar has, it tends to attracts scammers from every corner of the globe.
Over the past 18 years we've watched as the Internet has slowly become flooded with fake solar websites whose sole purpose is to collect your information so it can be sold not only to hundreds of solar dealers across the country but also to any interested parties that are willing to pay the price for your valuable personal information.
Search the Internet and you'll find hundreds of complaints from consumers who provided their contact information to these scammers without first making sure that they were even dealing with a real solar company.
We've created this short guide that you can use to protect your self by identifying some of these scammers before you hand over any information.
1. Are you dealing with a real solar sales company or a fake ?
Fake solar websites are easy to spot. Some are single page websites and some will have multiple pages filled with generic content concerning solar that has been specially written by copywriters for the purpose of helping the website to place high in the search engine results.
A. They'll typically have a couple of things in common such as a "solar savings calculator" or they'll lure you in by asking you to enter only your "Zip Code". Once you have entered your zip code, then the more detailed personal information will be next.
B. Another red flag is that these websites will rarely ever post a phone number. Click on their contact us page and all you'll typically find is another contact form. Remember, these business have only one goal in mind and that is to collect your contact information so they can sell it to third parties. They have no interest in selling you a solar system because they are not solar dealers.
C. Another dead giveaway is that these website's will rarely ever post products or pricing. After all these companies are not in the business of selling solar, they're simply in the business of collecting and selling your personal information to anyone who is willing to pay their price.
2. Have the solar dealers that these companies sold your information to been pre-screened ?
A. Sure, these companies may tell you that they have fully vetted three or for contractors that have been specially selected to quote your project, but is that true ?
Remember, a lead generation company's sole source of revenue is from, well.......selling leads. Evidence of this is the fact that our company is constantly bombarded by emails from lead generation companies. We've had to add a spam filter setting to our inbox, specifically to block emails from lead generation companies.
Never has any of these companies asked us to apply to see if we qualified to offer our services to their clients.
"Referrals to three, pre-screened, certified solar installers" Don't count on it.
3. Caller ID Spoofing.
A. Some of these lead generation companies have gone as far as installing equipment that generates false caller ID information and using overseas call centers located in India or the Philippines that makes them virtually impossible to track as well as very difficult to prosecute under U.S. Do Not Call Registry laws.
Recently we have received complaints from consumers that have claimed that they have received calls from our website which is impossible given the fact that we do not now, now have we ever made unsolicited calls to consumers. All of our sales calls are inbound.
These lead generation companies are entering the names and phone numbers of established, reputable solar companies into their caller ID spoofing equipment with the intent of fooling consumers into thinking that a reputable company is calling them.
This same technique is used by identity thieves that spoof fake caller ID numbers from the IRS or other entities in an effort to convince consumers to provide confidential information such as social security numbers and credit card information.
While it is difficult to prevent this unethical and most likely, illegal activity. Just know that most reputable solar companies do not make unsolicited call to consumers. So when receiving such a call, its best to simply not answer the phone.
The key thing to remember is that you must determine whether or not a dealer is real or fake BEFORE you hand over your information not afterward. Hand your contact information over to a lead generation company that's masquerading as a real solar sales or installation company and it will probably be a decision that you will regret for a long time to come.
Remember, do your homework before you hand your contact information over to any dealer.
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