In Las Vegas it’s Jason–or Greg–on the line from Energy Advocates

Energy AdvocatesAt the New To Las Vegas world headquarters I’m getting as many as 10 telephone calls a week from someone who says he’s with Energy Advocates, marketing home solar energy systems. Most of the time he says his name is “Jason;” occasionally, it’s “Greg.” But it’s the same voice every time, which may not be surprising because the voice is generated by a computer using technology and probably a real person to monitor how I respond.

Now, I would tell you that any outfit using a computer to call me 10 times a week is not on the up and up. Another reason for my thinking this: The local telephone number that shows on the caller ID generally is nonexistent, as I find when I call that number after the call to me is over. Judging from complaint postings on the Internet, Energy Advocates is plying its scheme nationally.

It’s exactly the same pitch every time. Jason/Greg asks how I’m doing. No matter what I respond–and I once said I was just diagnosed with terminal coronavirus and was in hospice care on a ventilator–he says that’s good, then moves into his spiel. Jason/Greg says he is working on home solar power, that it can be installed at no cost to me, and he would like to explain it to me. “I understand you are the homeowner,” he says, and asks for confirmation. He then asks if I spend more than $100 a month on electricity.

When I say yes–it’s sort of hard not to in broiling, over-air conditioned Las Vegas–he explains nothing. Jason/Greg says that’s all the information he needs and that he will refer me to his “supervisor” who will make sure all the information I have given–at that point, pretty much nothing–is correct.

The real fun begins when the “supervisor” comes on the line, sometimes even before Jason/Greg has finished speaking. I get a different supervisor on every call, suggesting Energy Advocates has a lot of people working on whatever it is doing. The “supervisor” is a real person, usually but not always male but always speaking heavily accented, often-hard-to-understand English yet giving me a quintessential American and likely false first name like “Mark,” to provide but one example. (I’ll get back to “Mark” shortly.)

The supervisor usually says he’s from an outfit called American Solar. I ask what the connection is between Energy Advocates and American Solar. I have yet to get an intelligible answer; some “supervisors” say they have never heard of Energy Advocates–before hanging up on me.

For those who stay on the line with me, I ask where American Solar is located. I get a variety of answers, but the most common response is Harrisburg, Pa. There doesn’t seems to be a business–legitimate or otherwise–by that precise name in Harrisburg. That apparently hasn’t stopped others getting these unsolicited robocalls from poking around on the Internet. Which could be the reason why, 120 miles to the south, American Solar Inc. of Annandale, Va.–a real outfit that only does commercial work–has this notice on its website:

If you received a call claiming to be from “American Solar,” that call did not come from American Solar, Inc. of Virginia. We do not do telemarketing and we do not do residential work. We are aware that people are making calls referring people to “American Solar”. In fact, the calls and reference to our company are being made without our permission and without our ability to stop them. From the results of conversations with others who have received the calls, we believe they are trying to get personal or financial information from recipients for inappropriate use. We attempted to have the calls stopped via several contacts with Federal and state agencies, but we have concluded that those efforts will not be productive.

I haven’t been able to find an address anywhere in the country for the Energy Advocates operation represented by Jason/Greg. But Energy Advocates LLC, a power consultant in Massachusetts that also does not install solar, has this notice on its website:

Energy Advocates is not engaged in any telemarketing or robocalling activities. We are aware of the robocalls coming from someone named Jason who claims to be from our firm but he is not.  We have been in touch with the Federal Trade Commission about this issue.  The only productive activity that you can engage in to stop these calls is to file a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

“Mark” was the professed name of the most recent pitch I received that was handed off by “Jason.” I repeatedly asked “Mark” where the office was located. He alternated between Los Angeles and Las Vegas; perhaps he didn’t know where I was. (There’s no American Solar office that I can find in Los Angeles.) Finally, I asked where the Las Vegas office was located. He asked why and I said it was for my records so I would know whom I’m dealing with. He gave me an address: 1111 High St., Las Vegas, NV 89106.

You probably will not be surprised to know there is no 1111 High St. in Las Vegas, in zip code 89106 (a real zip code in the center of the Las Vegas area) or anywhere else locally. There is a High Street, in a very different Las Vegas zip code on the west side of town. According to Google Maps, the one-block-long, dead-end street, numbered in the 6500s, has a single building along it housing a real estate services company.

I asked Mark for his phone number and email address–for my records, of course. He declined to provide these–more evidence, naturally, that he has nothing to hide.

Eventually, after peppering “Mark” with additional questions, I asked him what role he played in all this. He said his job was to “verify” information from me so that I could be referred to “experts” from as many as five solar companies who would get in touch with me.

But then I told him my job was to see how much information I could get from him without giving him any in return. “Mark” exploded. “Your job is to go f—— yourself,” he responded cleverly. Despite his hard-to-understand English, he voiced the expletive quite clearly. I actually sort of giggled.

He said I had been wasting his time. Now that may have been the first accurate thing he said during our entire conversation. “Mark” then hung up.

I can’t wait for the next call from “Jason” or “Greg.”

Follow William P. Barrett on Twitter by clicking here.

Share on Facebook

Comments

In Las Vegas it’s Jason–or Greg–on the line from Energy Advocates — 28 Comments

  1. Re the IRS scammers, when I have time, I sometimes call back and ask for the warrant number and which court it was issued by. I often will be given a number, say, seven digits. But I will then say that all federal warrants have eight digits, and ask that it be read to me again. I will be given the same number but with an extra digit. Oops, I then say, I made a mistake and federal warrants have nine digits and ask for a re-reading. I sometimes have been able to get the scammer up to 11 digits before they realize I’m wasting their time.

  2. Ashley,
    I received 6 calls from these assholes since I woke up today at 6:45. I don’t remember the names they used and I usually will screw with them to see how much of their time I can waste. I’m hoping against hope I am keeping sometime else fun getting screwed by them by keeping them from at least that one extra call they would have made today but today I didn’t feel like fooling with them.
    I also received 4 calls this afternoon since 2pm from the “IRS” about a warrant that’s been issued for my arrest because someone has been using my social security number for something. These IRS idiots even said that my social has been “cancelled” (or something).
    I wish the govt would actual look into this because if I’m receiving approximately 35 calls a week and this is happening to so many others, how many people are being screwed over by them? And you know they’re getting some people to fall for this shit

  3. I just received a call from “Jason”. I asked him if he was really calling people on thanksgiving at dinner time and he replied yes. I hung up on him.

  4. If that’s your first ever, you’re lucky. I’ve already gotten two today, and, over time, maybe 200.

  5. They are annoying. But it doesn’t seem that any regulator is actively looking into this. It clearly is sketchy. Yesterday, I received yet another call. When I was switched to yet another “supervisor” who barely spoke legible English but said his name was “Dan,” I asked where specifically the supervisor was. “Dan” said “Basically, Harrisburg, Pa.” I said “basically” was not an acceptable qualifier and asked again the exact city in which the “Dan” was located. “Dan” promptly hung up.

  6. I have been receiving these calls for weeks now. To say they are annoying would be an understatement. I have asked repeatedly to be taken off the calling list. I am glad to see that some action can possibly be taken to end this nuisance. The calls come from various phone numbers with a Florida area code (where I am located).

  7. I imagine a number of regulatory agencies have received complaints about Energy Advocates. The problem is that, so far as I know, nobody has complained about being swindled out of money.

  8. I too have been Robo called endlessly by a computer displaying a Las Vegas Marriott code and it’s always Jason from energy advocates I have asked at least 20 times for them to take me off their list but they keep generating new phone numbers. I think they should be reported to every state attorney general.

  9. It seems that a number of persons called have complained to the Federal Trade Commission, which supposedly oversees the do-not-call registry, with little impact.

  10. This mr Jason is freaking persistent have told him million of time to stop. Mention his mother fucker can you stop calling my phone. Wtf 🤬 with this 2 mf. I already piss off by this clowns. Hope this can stop.

  11. I think a lot of folks are simply cold-called at random, at least initially, so no one “got” your number. Of course, that wouldn’t explain why I have gotten maybe 100 calls from “Jason” and his associate “Greg”–unless everyone in the country is getting such repeat calls.

  12. I got one today from Jason using a local number. When I asked how he got my number he dodged my question and asked for confirmation I was the homeowner. When I said I think you missed my question he cut off and a man with a heavy accent jumped on. I asked him what happened to Jason. He said he was Jason. Ummmm, I don’t think so. I hung up because I wasn’t really feeling creative.

  13. I asked them if they like to wear dresses and that I would be happy to buy him a yellow one as I am lonely during Covid. Well, at least they know English curse words!

  14. If these calls were on the up and up, they would not be spoofing the number that pops up on the caller ID.

  15. Got a call from them today. I think “he” said his name was Mark. I don’t understand why they’re picking solar for these scams. I rent the house we live in and you think that would be enough to step them from wasting their time. One time they did say that they got my information from the electric company. Not sure if that’s true or not.

  16. I get at least one call a day from Jason, Yesterday my husband answered and spoke to the supervisor with not very nice language to STOP F*ing CALLING HERE! They agreed. I just got another call about 1 hour ago. They are spoofing local town government offices like town hall and public works departments so you will pick up!

  17. I still don’t know what the purpose of the calls are. One “supervisor” told me it was a way to get leads for solar-panel installation companies, but the level of cold calls seems to far exceed the market for that. It’s hard to believe that the folks behind “Jason” and “Greg” are up to any good. But at this point I don’t know the identity of their backers, which would make filing a class action lawsuit rather difficult.

  18. Jason and his pal Greg are the reason I finally added my cell number to the Do Not Call registry. It’s been about 4 weeks now, and the calls haven’t stopped yet. Each call comes from a different phone number in my area code. I don’t answer all calls but I did start creating a new contact for each number. Just collecting evidence. But I always hung up before I got passed up the chain, so I’m glad I found this site. Course, if the operation is off-shore, there won’t be any class action lawsuit coming.

  19. It’s definitely a sketchy operation of some kind. But I have to confess I don’t know exactly what it is. At this point I am unaware of anyone complaining they were swindled out of money. That tape recording of “Jason” is apparently years old.

  20. my man “Jason” or “Greg” call every day and sometimes more than once. I entertain my self by giving various medical reasons why I cannot have solar on my tent roof as I am homeless and must move often. Other reasons is that I already have solar on my house and don’t need a second set.
    This scam is in need of the authorities getting involved and killing this business. Hopefully soon.

  21. I’m afraid I cannot to kindly assist with you your solar energy needs, but perhaps you would be strongly interested in to help me liberate my modest fortune from one Nigeria, left very legitimate to me by my father, the exiled King?

  22. Thank you for writing this! We get at least one or more very nasty emails from people on the receiving end of these calls weekly. I guess they really think someone would run a business that way. If you are contacted by any state or Fed agencies who might help with this problem – please send them our way!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.