UPD warns residents of potential energy scam

UTICA, N.Y. -- It's happened to most of us: you're at home when someone knocks on your door with the intention of selling something.

"Tuesday night I was at my home and the doorbell rang, and I answered the door and a young man was there with a clipboard and had a laminated badge and started asking me questions about my energy provider," said Utica Common Councilman John Jacon.

The man then asked to see a copy of his energy bill in order to compare services. It wasn't until after he sent the solicitor away that Jacon said something seemed off.

"As he got further down the street I realized there was a law in the books that said door to door solicitation required a permit," he said.

Jacon then called Utica Police to report the situation. According to Utica Police Chief Mark Williams, this isn't the first time people have gotten these kinds of visits.

"We've received calls, not only currently, but in the past as well," Williams said.

Door to door sales are allowed in the City of Utica, but are regulated so that salespeople are required to have permits.

"The problem that we're finding with these alternative energy source companies is that they will not have their employees sign up for the peddlers license that they're supposed to get at city hall," Williams said.

This problem could also potentially lead to a greater issue for residents.

"Unbeknownst to the people, what [solicitors are] doing is jotting down all of your information off that bill and they find out months later on that they've been switched over to that company's energy source, and they don't discover it until they see their bills going up," Williams said.

Both Jacon and Williams urge anyone who deals with a similar situation to contact UPD at their non emergency number, 315-735-3301.

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