Thursday, September 29, 2022

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How To Report Robocalls

Solar Solutions Solar Rebate Scam Call

In the US, you can report robocalls to the Federal Trade Commission. You can also register your number with the National Do Not Call Registry .

In the UK, Citizens Advice has information on reporting nuisance calls, including reporting them to the Telephone Preference Service. In Australia, you can lodge a complaint with the Australian Communications and Media Authority. Other jurisdictions have similar complaint bodies.

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Register On The Do Not Call List

While scammers won’t respect the FTC’s Do Not Call Registry, it can’t hurt to register your landline and mobile phone numbers at donotcall.gov. From the website, you can report unwanted calls, verify if your phone number is registered with the Do Not Call Registry, and add your number if not.

If you think you may have already registered with the Do Not Call Registry, select Register Your Phone > Verify Here. Type your phone number and email address, then click Submit. At the next screen, click Verify to confirm your number and email address. Youll then receive an email indicating whether your number is already registered. Check your email for the message.

If you’re not already registered, select Register Your Phone > Register here. Enter your phone number and email address, then click Submit. Confirm your information, then click Register. Youll then be directed to check a message in your email. Click on the link in the message to complete your registration.

You can report any robocalls or scam calls you receive to the FTC. The agency can’t act on your specific complaint, but it will suggest steps you can take and collect the information you provide in its own fight against sleazy telemarketers.

From the DNC homepage, click Report Unwanted Calls. Youll be asked to fill out all the details about the phone call in question, then submit the information. Alternatively, you can call the FTC at 1-888-382-1222 to report an unwanted call.

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Solar Panel Installations Fraud: Locations

The Solar Panel System scam has been reported to make victims in the following cities: New York, London, Sydney, Melbourne, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Antonio, Washington, Jersey City, Brisbane, San Francisco, Newark, Austin, Houston, Phoenix, St. Petersburg, Tampa, Dallas, Aquia Harbour, Santa Clarita, San Bernardino, Salt Lake City, Philadelphia, Norwich, El Paso, Calgary, Perth, Poway, Charlotte, Perris, Adelaide, Arvada, Rancho Cucamonga, Edison, Albuquerque, Devonport, Anaheim, Fresno, Pflugerville, Chicago, Boston, Riverside, Vallejo, Mesquite, Ipswich, Palm Harbor, Parsippany-Troy Hills, Shrewsbury, Spokane, Fruitville, Dundee, Ventura, Herne Bay, Glendale, Paramus, River Vale, Hartford, Miami, Virginia Beach, Aurora, Lynn Haven, Orlando, Rio Rancho, Prosser, Berkeley, Perdido Key, Peterborough, Beverly, Elk Grove, Dudley, Huntington Beach, Peachtree City, Dover, Gardena, Jacksonville, Goole, Colorado Springs, Elizabethtown, Cincinnati, Four Corners, Carlsbad, Kansas City, Hackensack, Oakham, Santa Ana, Atlanta, Willingboro, Yonkers, Oildale, Amsterdam, Berkeley, Sacramento, Morris Plains, Las Vegas, Nashville and Gold Coast.

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Why Are You Getting Spam Calls

Scam calls arent personal. Not really, anyway. Representatives at the FCC and FTC both told us that robocall scammers might call numbers randomly or by sequentially dialing numbers by area code. Theres also a market for robocallers that call to see if anyone picks up and then turn around and sell that list to other scammers. The same goes for text messages, where they may test to see if you tap a link or reply to the message trying to opt out.

Scammers, being unscrupulous, can also buy a list of phone numbers from a legitimate source for their illegitimate needs. When the folks behind the podcast Reply All dug into the possibility of mobile apps collecting and sharing phone numbers alongside location, they didnt find anything definitive. But theres not much oversight over how companies sell or share data after they collect it. First Orion, a scam-protection company, analyzed more than 40 billion calls and found that scammers are now using information from data breaches for more-focused scams, but the majority of robocalls are likely still randomized.

What Kinds Of Robocalls Are Allowed Without My Permission

Residential Solar

Under FTC rules, some robocalls dont require your permission:

  • Messages that are purely informational. Robocalls about your flight being canceled, reminding you about an appointment, or letting you know about a delayed school opening fall into this category, as long as the caller doesnt also try to sell you something.
  • Debt collection calls. A business contacting you to collect a debt can use robocalls to reach you. But robocalls that try to sell you services to lower your debt are illegal and are almost certainly scams.
  • Political calls.
  • This includes a robocall from a pharmacy reminding you to refill a prescription.
  • Messages from charities. Charities can make these calls to you themselves. But if a charity hires someone to make robocalls on its behalf, unless you are a prior donor or member of the charity, the robocall is illegal. They also must include an automated option to let you stop future calls.

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Solar Panel Cold Calls To Watch Out For

More than half of solar panel owners in our survey have been approached by a cold caller. Some were trying to sell them something unnecessary or even claiming something likely untrue.

The most common cold calls about solar panels were:

  • Offering a free health check for the solar panels
  • Selling an optimiser or voltage optimiser
  • Claiming the inverter needs changing

That’s based on our survey in June 2021 of 1,116 Which? Connect panel members with solar panels.

Some product offers can be legitimate and worthwhile – but sometimes they’re being mis-sold.

Think carefully about the claims made about any product you’re being offered, and work out if it will benefit your system. A cold-caller on your doorstep or phone doesn’t give you time to think things through.

See our solar panel brand reviews.

Arent There Laws About Spam Calls

Laws passed with the aim of curbing illegitimate robocalls go way back to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 and cropped up most recently, in 2020, in the form of the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act. The TRACED Act increased the fine on spam robocallers from $1,500 to $10,000 per call, and more important, it requires phone companies to improve their call-authentication technology to weed out scammers before your phone even rings. One sign the FCC is looking to rein in robocallers came in March 2021, when the agency fined two Texas-based telemarketers $225 million. And since mid-2021, carriers from AT& T to Comcast have been required to implement new technology meant to verify call origins and cut down on these spoofed numbersbut the 15% to 20% drop estimated by the YouMail Robocall Index in the past year isnt a dramatic change. New regulations from the FCC issued in May 2022 require the same verification technology deployed last year to be applied to calls coming from abroad.

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How To Prepare For A Home Solar System

We get itputting solar on your home is no small deal.

With such a big purchase, you will want to research: the best companies to install solar, your states solar incentives or rebates, and anything else you might need to know. Finding out these answers is crucial to making a sound decision for your home and for your wallet. Having a plan will ensure you get the best possible outcome and return on your system.

Planning a home solar system doesnt have to be difficult or intimidating it can be quite simple if you know where to look, what to look for, and we are here to help you along the way.

Cold Call : Claiming Your Solar Panel Installer Has Stopped Trading

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Some 10% said that a cold caller told them that the company that installed their solar panels had gone out of business, when this wasn’t true.

If you’re unsure, try contacting your solar panel installer. Check its website and try the contact information it left with you at installation. You can also search for installers registered with MCS on its website.

Ask the cold-calling company how it got your details. Don’t feel pressurised into signing anything with a new company before you’ve had time to digest all the information you need to make a decision.

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How Many Robocalls Do You Get A Day

As America slowly begins to inch back to business as usual, robodialers are already there. The number of robocalls last month hit pre-pandemic levels for the first time in a year, averaging over 159 million calls per dayroughly 1,911 calls per secondaccording to robocall-prevention service YouMail.Mar 5, 2021

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Cold Call : Changing The Inverter For Your Solar Panels

Cold callers had told 15% of solar panel owners in our survey that their inverter needed changing.

Inverters don’t tend to last as long as solar panels. So you’d expect to replace it during the 20+ year lifespan of your panels.

But you don’t need to replace your inverter if it’s still working. Newer models can be more efficient but they can also cost several thousand pounds.

Weigh up any expected savings with a new inverter against how long it will take those savings to pay back the cost of replacing the inverter. Also ask the company how it has calculated the expected savings.

Find out more: are solar panels worth it?

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What Happens If You Answer A Robocall

If you receive a spam robocall, the best thing to do is not answer. If you answer the call, your number is considered ‘good’ by the scammers, even if you don’t necessarily fall for the scam. They will try again because they know someone on the other side is a potential victim of fraud. The less you answer, the fewer robocalls you will receive.

However, the difficulty is knowing when a call is a robocall and if that robocall is a spam robocall.

In recent years, spoofing calls have become more common. Spoof callers deliberately change the name or number displayed as the caller ID when calling. Often, this is to mimic a real company or person’s name to deceive you into taking the call. For this reason, when you tap the answer button, be careful.

You can minimize the risk of being scammed by following these tips:

I Wouldnt Buy Solar Or Batteries From A Cold Caller

Residential Solar

My advice is to never buy solar or batteries from a company that cold calls. Im not saying its impossible for a quality installer to contact you, but the odds are against it and I dont recommend going against the odds when your money and possibly safety are on the line.

Its a simple matter of probability. If you pick a solar company randomly out of the phone book chances are you wont get a scoundrel. But if you go with someone who rings you up out of the blue you probably will. The reason the phone lines are rotten with reprobates is because they are looking for people who dont know much about solar power or what it currently costs and want to get a salesperson who is almost invariably on a commission to their place and seal the deal before they do any research.

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A Look At The Tech Behind Robocall Blocking: Shaken And Stir

Curious about how all this robocall-blocking technology works? Two technologies, in particular, came into play last year:

  • Signature-based Handling of Asserted information using toKENs
  • Secure Telephone Identity Revisited

Theyre dual tech efforts that aim to verify a given call originates from the number that it says it does. The key is the use of token technology: creating a digital signature as a stamp of approval when a call originates.

Unfortunately, the two technologies wont out-and-out block robocalls when used in concert. What they will do is show some mark of verification on your phone to indicate that a call is legitimately coming from the number you see displayed.

Block Numbers On Android

The steps for blocking numbers on an Android phone vary based on the device and operating system version. You should be able to open the Phone app and select recent calls or call history. Tap the number you want to block and find the command that says block and/or report as spam. Confirm the request to block the number.

Some Android devices also allow you to block all unknown callers. While the process varies among different devices, you typically open the Phone app and go to the Settings menu. Find the option for blocking numbers and activate the feature. You can also manually add phone numbers that you want blocked.

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Solar Telemarketing Complaints Halved

New figures from the Australian Communications and Media Authority show complaints about unwanted telemarketing calls from solar companies have halved since 2018.

There were just under 1,700 complaints between July 2019 and March 2020down from more than 3,400 in the same period between 2018 and 2019.

ACMA Chair Nerida OLoughlin said the results are encouraging and follow a series of ACMA actions to reduce illegal telemarketing calls from the solar sector.

We have been working with industry to educate them on telemarketing rules, as well as targeting the industry with investigations and, where appropriate, enforcement actions, Ms OLoughlin said.

After directly contacting the solar telemarketers who we have received complaints about, and reminding them of their obligations, we have seen a significant decrease in the number of complaints received about those telemarketers.

This gives the providers an opportunity to review and correct their processes, which is a win-win, for the company and the consumers.

Over the last year, the ACMA has taken a range of actions following investigationsinto alleged breaches of telemarketing laws. This includes:

The ACMA recognised the harmful impact of unwanted solar telemarketing when it made solar telemarking a compliance priority. The fall in calls is improving consumers lives, Ms OLoughlin said.

MR 20/2020

Know How Much Your Utilities Are

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The first thing we recommend is understanding how much you typically pay for your utilities.

Having three or four recent electricity bills on hand, is not only good for you to know your starting point, but it is also a great way to prepare for and provide to a solar expert.

Knowing the details of the statements can help you get you a quote that is accurate to your home and your needs. How much you pay your utility company is a key factor, when considering going solar, especially during the design and proposal stage.

Our in-house teams can create system arrays that will benefit you the most by providing these details. If you use a high amount of energy, we might add a panel or two to your design to make sure usage is covered. If you use a low amount of energy, we use the information to make sure we are not giving you more panels than you need to maintain your electricity usage for a low cost.

HOME ENERGY AUDIT

To run an energy-efficient home, which will undoubtedly save you money, a Home Energy Audit will be performed to identify places your energy uses can be improved. It might provide insights such as: upgrading your appliances or simply adjusting your thermostat temperature at night. You can also do a few things on your own, like switching your lights to LED bulbs, and being efficient with your dishes, laundry, and other appliances.

EXCLUSIVE FINANCING OPTIONS
EXPEDITE THE PROCESS

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What Are Call Blocking And Call Labeling

When we talk about call blocking, it means technologies or devices that can stop a lot of the unwanted calls you get like scam calls and illegal robocalls before they reach you. Cell phones, home phones that make calls over the internet , and landlines each have their own call-blocking options. Just know that call-blocking services could block some legitimate calls.

Some companies also offer call labeling. Call-labeling services show categories like spam or scam likely on your phones screen for incoming calls. Then you can decide whether to answer the call.

How To Identify A Solar Spam Call

Identifying a spam caller seems like common sense, but a lot of people fall for scam / spam calls every day. Keep an eye out for solar energy phone calls when monitoring for spam.

In the solar industry, many telemarketers employ certain tactics to get an impulse reaction out of you. Some of these tactics include:

Any mention of a sweepstakes or raffle: that youve been specially selected or won a free solar system / free panels. The saying goes, If its too good to be true, it probably is. A lot of American solar call companies are notorious for offering too good to be true deals upfront only to disappoint the customer when the system wasnt actually free.

Posing as an electricity utility company or government associate: I myself have received many of these calls. Telemarketers will use phony names that sound legit in order to trick consumers, such as Go Green Energy Center, Utah Public Utilities Commission, California Public Utilities Commission, CA Green Energy Center, etc.

Most of the time they will try to schedule a free energy audit, in-person free solar consultation or some sort of an inspection. There have been reports of falling for this trick and have a salesperson dressed up as a utility representative showing up at your door to conduct an audit or inspection.

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Start Saving With Renewable Energy

Over the lifetime of your solar panel system, you can save upwards of $30,000 on your utilities, leaving money to go to something else, whether it be a big family vacation, another large purchase for your home, or just to putting yourself in a better financial position. These savings come from the utility savings, federal tax incentive of 26%, and state and local rebates and incentives.

Depending on your location, utility companies can offer great net metering policies and rebates, and your local governments can include tax exemptions and sometimes tax credits.

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