Smart Meter Overcharging

  • 16 July 2021
  • 9 replies
  • 123 views

Caller stating they were Pure Planet employee wanted to urgently change Smart Meter because I was being overcharged. He had account my details and gave ne number for new meter. Then he wanted to me to confirm y details and he asked some questions about the property use. at which point I said that I was ending call and would contact you for confirmation. The same number called back in quick sucession but I did not answer it. I submitted a Help request through the Pure Planet App but it would appear that  Customer Service is on vacation. There are two issues: Why did not I receive an email first, and why does this meter company have my personal  information?


9 replies

Userlevel 7
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@07Barry19 

Your post is somewhat confusing, you said you were talking to someone from PP, then you said meter company, which was it or who were they?

This issue has been raised previously and a reasonable potential solution appears to have been ignored  (not the issue of the company which installs meters (Magnum Utilities) having your property details, they have to have those details it isn’t optional. What is optional is if you don’t want to be contacted for marketing.)

I and others have suggested previously that to set the mind at rest for customers worried about who they are talking to, a message could be sent to wattbot (in app or online) by PP, at the same time as the call, when the call originates from a PP employee. Wattbot is only accessible through PP’s systems.

If the call comes from Magnum on behalf of PP it could be prearranged to send both an email AND a wattbot (email alone can be spoofed hence both), to tell the customer they are going to be called. 

Has your metered usage increased since the SM was installed?

What number came up on your phone?

 

Initially the person stated that he was calling from Pure Planet. The number was 02081332023. He also gave me the number  for the meter to be installed as E24ALA50481. As the conversation progressed he referred to the account registration and my history with PP and then asked some questions about the previous account registration and wanted me to confirm some details. At which point I said that if he was calling from PP he must have those details. He then said that he was dealing with the Smart Meter records and needed to correct the entry before sending a person to change the meter straight away. It was at that point I became concerned and said I was ending the call and would await an email confirmation from PP.  This was not Magnum, they installed the meter just a couple of months ago, and I received previous advice. They did seem to be disorganised and called me from three different numbers before arriving.

My meter is external, I do not have an internal monitor and the meter has not been in place very long so I tend to rely on the monthly statement.

I am still awaiting a response from PP Customer Service!

 

@07Barry19 That phone number comes up on a search as one to be avoided, scammers, a potential spoof. Nobody needs you to confirm your basic details with them as, as you have said, they should have them. If they are genuine they only need to check it is you. Normally the solution with all such calls is to put the phone down and ring your bank, card supplier, energy supplier direct. The problem is PP do not give you a number to ring. It therefore means that you raise it through the Bott and have to wait some days for a reply. Longer if it is a weekend. It is an issue PP need to address. If PP don’t want to use telephones then perhaps a dedicated email address for spammers where you can report it - spam@pureplanet…

It also troubles me that assuming it is a spoof then they have your details. That being so PP needs to check its security has not been breached.

I have a number of concerns. This caller could be considered as DANGEROUS because he knew that we were retired; he was requesting permission to come and access our home after 1800; he had account details from PURE PLANET which suggests that account data has been compromised.

There are three questions for PURE PLANET. Is there any real time customer service or is it just an accounting organisation? Does it take data confidentiality serious? Do the sub contractors, for example Meter Suppliers, have a  contract requiring control of confidential data?

@07Barry19 Always bear in mind the leak, if there is one, may not be at PP’s end. There are many ways scammers can access a person’s data on his smart phone or computer if care is not taken. Particularly I believe if an Android system is used. Harmless emails that appear with harmless looking data from some store can indued embedded nasties in the data in the email which cannot be seen and they then infect. If you have not done so I suggest giving your own system a good check as well.

Having said that, I am fairly sure it was a scamming call from what you have described. The caller has acquired some of your data in connection with PP and was trying to obtain more. There are many ways a person can obtain data and find out what energy supplier is used. Even just discussion energy prices on social media sites is sufficient and with patience a scammer then works out who you are and where you live and what you do, even for some their daily routine.

PP ought though to do a thorough system check and perhaps ought to consider reporting this to the Information Commissioner there being a legal requirement to do so.

Fair concerns and questions @07Barry19. Yes, there are real people to talk to about your account.

In the app tap Help then Ask a Question. Now tell the Wattbot machine your situation. It likely won’t understand, so type Message the team to get the attention of a real human.

They should reply in a few days.

 

@woz In this case the reply should be in much less than 3 days. Hopefully there is no cause for concern for PP but checks are needed urgently.

Hi @07Barry19 Welcome to the community.

Just to let you know I’ve flagged this with our Member services team.

I will post back here too if there’s anything I can share of general feedback. 

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +11

@07Barry19 

First of all thank you for flagging this, this is exactly the sort of thing that’s useful to the community,

The worrying part is of course how many people think it’s genuine and give them information, not least  their card details (for example, we won’t charge your card but if you cancel the appointment we need your card details, or some other believable story. Paranoia is good.

Just to point out that anyone can find out who your energy supplier is if they have an address -maybe scammer(s) are doing exactly that or perhaps just using the names of a few different popular energy companies (ha! PP maybe you’ve moved into the popular big league here!) 

The comments on the  number checking website mention a few of the larger energy companies..

The bigger concern is what other data they may have about their targets and where they got it. 

May I ask were you ever a customer of talktalk? Loads of personal info was disseminated from that hack, the repercussions still ongoing.

Looking at the number of reported calls I’m rather surprised that they haven’t bothered spoofing their number yet, I can’t make sense of that so perhaps there is more to this than we yet know…

Well done for reporting it here!

(I don’t work for PP)

@Marc I can see a bit of an issue here for PP because there is no way for a customer to verify within a reasonable timeframe, whether a call from PP is genuine, and expecting a customer to wait 2 days through wattbot  for confirmation doesn’t cut it for that situation. I think you need to put something in place with wattbot - this is a perfect example of where AI could work really well (a bit like the urgent button but not quite as urgent!)

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