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deboratibi

Nay for Feeling Unsafe at Home

22 posts in this topic

I was a bit reluctant to post about this, but I think I really need to vent and perhaps listen to some advice, if anyone has some.

I live with my parents and brother in a house here in Brazil, and a few days ago my mom and I decided to get a new internet/cable tv service package because we currently have separate services and they're turning out to be a bit expensive. We called the company and they scheduled installation on the 14th (Monday). Then yesterday my mom received a call from a different number saying they were actually going to install it today (Sunday), and my mom said "ok". But then she started to feel suspicious... She remembered hearing about criminals who pretend to be cable company employees to rob people's houses. So we decided that if anyone showed up, we wouldn't let them in.

They arrived this morning at 8 am, and rang. I could see them from the monitor: they had a car with the company's name with a ladder on top, they had uniforms, everything. I woke up my parents so they could answer (I didn't want to speak to them), and before my parents could get to the intercom they started calling us on our landline and when my mom answered they said "We're here but no one's answering the door". It took me less than 2 minutes to wake up my parents and get them there, so they were being impatient. Real employees will typically ring several times before thinking about calling people on the phone (in my experience, at least).

They said their names and that they were here for the installation, and that it would be real quick. We said we were going to call the company to confirm the schedule change. The company said there were no changes: the installation was still scheduled for Monday. So we told them that, and that we wouldn't let them in. They said they would get the company to call us and explain the situation. Of course, the "company" called us from a different number. When my mom questioned this, they said the number she was calling belonged to the headquarters which is located in a different city, and they were local. They said the guys were legit and that the change happened, and that the people from the headquarters were misinformed. My mom questioned, how come they don't communicate with their own people? I don't remember exactly how they responded to this, but they never faltered, they always had an answer.

My mom had to make several calls to the headquarters and to the alleged local division back and forth, and we learned a few more things. The actual installation can take up to 6 hours, so it's not "real quick" (but armed robbery certainly is). And if you look up the local division on google, a different number is listed (if you google the number they called from, nothing shows up). But the "local guys" provided their full names and register number, so my mom was starting to wonder if maybe they were legit after all and I said NO, that doesn't mean anything. This only proves that those names and numbers belong to real employees, but that doesn't prove it belongs to THEM. They can easily steal this stuff or get an actual employee to give it to them. The local guys were starting to ask, "so, do you want the installation or not?" and I told my mom to tell them that we didn't want it anymore.

This was a few hours ago, and I thought it was over. But now my dad came up to me and said "They weren't criminals after all!", and I said "how do you know?", he said "I spoke with someone from the local division, and they explained that their system is very disorganised, which is why the headquarters doesn't know about the changes. The person assured me that everything is legit" and I asked, "did this person call from the same number as before, or from the number we found on google?", and he said "the same number as before" facepalm.gif 

I used to think my dad was the most paranoid person on the planet, and yet he was ready to believe the criminals weren't criminals because the criminals said so. Gosh. Ok, I can't say for sure that they ARE criminals, it COULD turn out to be just a matter of disorganisation on the company's part, and I actually hope it is, because then that would mean we weren't really targeted and that everything's fine. But they're not doing a good job proving themselves, so until they do, I'm going to be VERY suspicious and not let them in. My parents seem to feel bad about being paranoid and being suspicious of potentially legit people, but I'd rather give legit people a hard time than risk having armed men inside our home, taking our stuff and maybe even killing us if they're in a murder-y mood on that particular day. My 85 year old grandmother lives with us, for crying out loud.

Anyway... I'm thinking about going down to the local division and speaking with someone in person. When we call the number we found on google, no one answers. This could either be because today is Sunday (and Father's Day here in Brazil) so they're not open, or, as my mom suggested, maybe the number on google is out of date so the one they've been calling from is the new one :shiftyeyes_anim: I don't think so...

Angeló and Mouseykins like this

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:( This is so awful! I think you did everything right though; you're not an idiot, if you didn't feel right there was a reason - even if you're not entirely sure what that reason was. You need to feel safe, and if you can't talk to your family and make a goal to move somewhere where you all feel safe together. Not feeling safe in your own home is the most horrible feeling and it doesn't ever lead to a good outcome :(

xx

DesertRose and hpb63094 like this

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Oh wow...did you get pictures of these people?

Interesting conversations to be had with whoever turns up tomorrow...

Oh, actually...these guys from today may send along some different people tomorrow, because they KNOW you're expecting someone, hope there's a means to be 100% sure of whoever turns up. : /

 

If it does turn out that these people were legit (oh look, do you see that? a flying pig!!) then that level of disorganisation is completely unacceptable. Stay strong with not letting your parents give in to their wishes out of feeling bad for being suspicious. Hope you manage to get to the bottom of this!

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How trustworthy is your local police department (or regional equivalent)?  Here in the states, I would recommend calling them, especially while they were at your door and trying to convince you to let them in.  If it is something that they are doing a lot, the police department may be wanting to catch them at it.  And again, better for honest people to have to explain themselves to someone with the resources to prove or disprove the claim than for dishonest people to get away with it and go on to try you again tomorrow or just move on to someone more gullible.  However, I know some countries have even more issues of corruption and stuff than we do, and the police aren't always a trusted ally to innocent people.

The company may also want to look into people who do work for them, because they may be actual employees who get the records and truck and everything to find out who they should target and to make it look legit.

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It seems unlikely that even if they'd changed their number, it wouldn't come up at all in google searches. Plus, if your mother called headquarters (several times), I'm assuming that they're now aware people showed up at your house, so it'd be easy for them to check if the local branch had indeed changed the schedule. (Even disorganised companies could probably manage that much.) But considering today is Sunday (and Father's Day), it seems unlikely they'd be working; in my experience cable companies don't really install stuff over the weekend.

So, yeah, I agree with everyone else: good job not letting them in, and try to convince your parents that it's okay to doubt people in such a suspicious situation as this one! I hope you'll manage to get some actual answers soon, that the actual employees will show up tomorrow, and that these guys won't bother you again!

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I think you did the right thing. Even if it turns out they're legit. I'd rather be safe than sorry in circumstances like this. Plus knowing that there are criminals robbing people's houses pretending to be service companies. I'd be sketchy too.

*hugs*

DesertRose likes this

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I hope you'll let everyone know what happens tomorrow when the local company will be open for business and you'll be able to find out what the heck today was all about!

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@sezzzzzzy Thanks. I've been living in this house for about 3 years now, and I've never felt unsafe here... This is a good neighbourhood. We're all nervous and scared right now, and the idea of moving somewhere else has actually come up already. But realistically, it's not something we can afford right now and it's not *guaranteed* to keep us safe anyway. Unfortunately we'll just have to be extra careful and a little bit paranoid.

7 hours ago, jellysundae said:

Oh wow...did you get pictures of these people?

Interesting conversations to be had with whoever turns up tomorrow...

Oh, actually...these guys from today may send along some different people tomorrow, because they KNOW you're expecting someone, hope there's a means to be 100% sure of whoever turns up. : /

If it does turn out that these people were legit (oh look, do you see that? a flying pig!!) then that level of disorganisation is completely unacceptable. Stay strong with not letting your parents give in to their wishes out of feeling bad for being suspicious. Hope you manage to get to the bottom of this!

I did not... My monitor doesn't take pictures, and even if it did, I couldn't see their faces from that angle. All I can say is that they were both male, with an average weight and height. That really narrows it down, doesn't it? lol

I'm not sure I follow. You mean if the guys today really were criminals, they'll send different guys tomorrow? I'm not sure how many people they have. There were 2 guys at my gate, then my mom spoke with 2 different guys on the phone (or maybe they were the same ones, who knows), and then with a woman. We're hoping we'll have answers tomorrow, because we "cancelled" with the supposed local people, so if they're legit, that means no one will be showing up tomorrow. But if someone does show up tomorrow, that means nothing was cancelled, which obviously means that these local people have nothing to do with the actual company.

I think my parents don't want to believe we had actual criminals at our gate, that we were actually targeted. I hope it turns out that we're being crazy too, but I'm not going to take some-person-on-the-phone's word for it.

@balloongal247 Our police is certainly problematic, but not so much that we wouldn't call them for that reason specifically. My first thought was to call the police, but my dad decided against it because one of the two would happen: either the police wouldn't have enough to arrest them in the first place, or they would arrest them but wouldn't have enough to keep them too long and they would soon be released. And once they were released, there could be retaliation. I really wanted to call the municipal guard tomorrow to have someone watch my house right before they come over, but I don't even know if they would do that and again, that could upset the criminals.

From what I've heard, the company is aware that this happens, and so is the police. In fact, this happens with other companies as well. And it happens in several cities... So it's a problem that's not going to be solved anytime soon, it seems.

@Nielo I went over to the local branch this afternoon and asked for the lady who spoke with us on the phone. Apparently she does exist, but she had already left. The place was open, but the guy who answered the door said there were only about 5 people working there today. I asked him what their phone number was, and oddly, it was neither the one that called us or the one we saw on google. However, the first 4 digits were the same as the number that called us. So I asked, does this number (the one that called us) belong to you guys? And he said no, but he didn't seem to be absolutely sure. This is starting to look like they *may* be legit, but I'm still not totally convinced.

@Mouseykins Thanks Dawn! :heart: That's exactly what I think. I'd rather make a fool out of myself than risk it.

@Granny63020 I certainly will! We're all so nervous, I don't think any of us will sleep well tonight, lol.

 

EDIT: H'OKAY, get ready for this - after replying to balloongal, I kept thinking to myself... Why doesn't anyone do anything about this? I know criminals get away with these things all the time, but this is too big of a scheme. This would be national news. So I decided to look up this up, aaand... Almost every single result was something like: "HOAX: Criminals pretend to be cable company employees to rob people's houses". ROFL lol.gif

In my defence, this is my mom's fault, she was the first one to get suspicious! And the company gets a lot of the blame too, because BOY, are they unprofessional... :competitive:

Edit 2: Okay, so upon further investigation, it seems that this HAS happened before. I found a news report about this, but it seems that this was done by a specific group of criminals, and the news report is from 2014. These crimes happened in the capital of the state I live in. So I guess it's kind of true, but maybe it's just not something that criminals are doing all over the country? Or maybe it wasn't before, but now it is because criminals like to be copycats? I don't know what to think anymore cry.gif

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Either way I think you did the right think if you were uncomfortable. And if they are legit, it will hopefully show them that they need to be more organized as a company!

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OMG, this is SUCH a hot mess!!!

I think we're all on tenterhooks about what will happen today, not sure how that's meant to help you ofc, lol, but we're all rooting for ya!

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The comapny definitely sounds completely disorganised! While there might not be as many of these robberies going on as it seemed at first, I have no doubt these kinds of things do happen. For some reason, the whole "pretending to be someone else and actually talking your way into someone's home", seems to be a pretty popular way to rob people. Over here in Holland there have been quite a few news stories about these kinds of robberies, where someone will pretend to deliver a package/be a repairman/ask for directions/etc. and they (often plus an accomplice) will talk their way into the house (which often belongs to elderly people) and take off with cash and valuables and such, which the occupant of the house often doesn't notice are missing until later. (These robberies tend to be non-violent though.)

I hope everything went (is going? I suck at time zones) alright today and you were only dealing with an incredibly incompetent company!

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I think you'll all be happy to know that no one showed up today, which strongly indicates that the guys from yesterday were indeed legit! We're very relieved now, and will be rescheduling our installation. But this time if they offer to come any other date/time than initially agreed upon, we will refuse.

I'm glad we decided not to tell my grandmother about this, or we would have scared her for nothing!

Thanks for all your support guys, I really really appreciate it :heart:

Nielo, acmerasta and Mouseykins like this

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My cable company sends an email with the name and company ID picture of the tech who is coming out. I like that, and I'm sure it is in response to these type of situations. My Air conditioner repair company does the same thing.

deboratibi likes this

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2 hours ago, preposter_ said:

My cable company sends an email with the name and company ID picture of the tech who is coming out. I like that, and I'm sure it is in response to these type of situations. My Air conditioner repair company does the same thing.

That's very sensible, not foolproof depending on the security of their email, but still very sensible.

Deb! This totally blows my mind to be honest. If yesterday's guys were legit then the level of disorganisation is just truly unbelievable D:<

 

My friend Yan lives in Manila, and he's done a LOT of complaining over the years about the internet providers there - taking FOREVER to get anything done, it took him WEEKS to switch from one rubbish ISP to another, only to find the new one was just as bad. They all provide seriously bad service which they get away with because they know all the public knows there's no point in switching because all the competitors are no better -.- I mean...seriously?...is it a "thing" to have really big problems with tech providers in developing countries or what? :who-let-rip:

deboratibi likes this

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That's totally a thing in the US too.  Most of the cable and internet companies suck, but there's generally only one option for truly high speed internet, if that.  And the cable companies have monopolies in each area, so they can charge whatever they want.  A lot of people use them as the standard for horrible service or having to call their customer service as a standard of things you really really don't want to do.

deboratibi likes this

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The e-mail thing sound like a great idea, they should implement that here! Even if it isn't completely foolproof, it certainly makes things a lot harder for criminals.

Yeah, that's pretty much how it is in Brazil... Every company's service is about the same, the only reason we're switching our cable now is because our phone and internet is provided by the same company, so if we get a phone + internet + cable package with them we will get a better deal. The reason our cable is provided by a different company in the first place is because when we first got it, it was one of the only options out there, and when more options became available we still believed it to be the best one. But since we've been watching less tv as the years go by, we realised we were only sticking with them out of habit. I personally could do without tv altogether, but my parents still want it because they like to watch sports (bleh).

Anyway, after my previous post, my mom rescheduled the installation for Thursday (tomorrow). And the weird thing is that ever since she did that, the local guys have been calling her everyday to ask if she wanted to move the schedule forward but she's refusing every time. They seem desperate. So she thinks this might not be simply a matter of them being a disorganised company... She thinks there's something else going on. Not something against against the law, but she thinks there a specific reason for all this weirdness. She thinks perhaps they're competing with someone else (maybe there are other "local guys"?), and they want to make sure they get this job. Or something of that nature. Because I can't think why they're so insistent on not just doing it on the originally scheduled date, and why they told my mom it would be "real quick" when in fact it can take up to several hours.

 

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Calling her every day to ask that even though she's already said no sounds like harassment.  At the very least you might want to call the headquarters and report that they are harassing you and ask them to get them to stop.

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Just...so much drama!

Fingers crossed that today's installation passes without a hitch! Toes crossed too, actually!

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in Lebanon there are several internet companies but they all take their bandwidth from the government-controlled Telecom - so basically they all have the same price with the same (sucky) services ... there are a few independent providers but they are so so so bad and they have zero tech support ...  

my DSL subscribed directly to the Telecom .. their local repair guy is my friend for the past 20 years .. whenever i need anything i call him directly :D

Nielo, deboratibi and Scoobert_Doo like this

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Angeló, I had no idea you lived in Lebanon! oh.gif

Anyway, I'm pleased to report that everything went well on Thursday! Everything is installed, and we already cancelled with the other company. We'll never know for sure what the heck happened, but I think it's probably what my mom said: some sort of competition. The guy who showed up on Thursday didn't have a partner, and his car was a bit different. That makes us think he might have been sent from somewhere else instead of the local branch (it now occurred to me that we should have asked him. facepalm.gif I wasn't there at the time, though). Well, whatever it was, it doesn't matter anymore. I'm glad it's over and I hope we won't have to call them again anytime soon! lol

Thanks for sticking around and helping me deal with this, everyone! :blush:

Nielo, Mouseykins and jellysundae like this

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Oh wow, that's so creepy! I think you definitely did the right thing. I'm glad it worked out in the end!

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