"Have you gone out of business? Absolutely not!" Beware of phone calls from Midwest Heating & Cooling
MILWAUKEE COUNTY (WITI) — Several people across the area are getting surprise phone calls from a company they've never hired or worked with.
"I picked up the phone and the lady on the line — she was a foreign lady," explained Eloise Tyczynski.
Tyczynski says the woman told her that the heating and cooling company she normally works with was closed and she was now their client.
"I had to have her spell it several times. She's from Midwest Heating and Cooling," Tyczynski recalled.
After years of doing business with Rudy Uttke & Sons, Tyczynski was suspicious and thought she'd check with the company herself.
"Have you gone out of business? Absolutely not. Have you sold my information to another company? Absolutely not," Tycznski remembered about her call with an employee from Rudy Uttke & Sons.
She told Rudy Uttke & Sons that the company called themselves Midwest Heating and Cooling and that the call didn't get very far.
"I hung up immediately," Tycznski said.
Tycznski isn't alone. Other customers are getting calls too.
The owner of Rudy Uttke & Sons, Tom Uttke, made some calls and found out his shop's clients aren't the only ones.
"Few friends that I called…said they were getting the same thing. Then I called another one and it was more and more. Some companies have had up to four calls from customers stating the same thing," Uttke explained.
One of those companies is Gross Heating. Alan Ruesch is the owner.
"It's concerning. We've been in business for 90 years and we've got a long loyal customer base. And when they start calling saying someone is saying that they're their heating contractor when they're not, it's a little concerning because they're not going to give them the service that we will typically give customers," Ruesch said.
The call looks like it is coming from a Chicago area code — 773. However, it could be spoofing where the scammers are calling from anywhere in the world.
In a Better Business Bureau Alert, the number has been contacting consumers in Wisconsin claiming to be Quality Heating or Midwest Heating.
FOX6's Contact 6 called the number and the message on the other end was different. The business actually gave an option to report their marketing tactics or any concerns about it's practices to "the regulatory agency that governs" the industry. The message then gave the number to the Federal Trade Commission.
Local companies worry their customers may get confused and hope no one falls for their tactics during the first cold call.
"From what I hear they were very rude. They were very demanding. Very, very difficult with the customer that they needed to come and do their service now," Uttke said.
"I think they're going in and they are going to come in saying they're going to clean the furnace, but they're going to find things they say are wrong, which are probably not wrong and try to get the customer to buy parts — a whole new furnace things like that," Ruesch speculated.
If you get a call like this Tycznski says listen to your instincts.
"If you know in your heart that that company hasn't gone out of business — hang up the phone. Call that company — find out," Tycznski advised.