Scam Alerts

WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
Citizen RE has been getting some publicity lately. However, they seem to be primarily an MLM that produces nothing. They are currently under investigation in California.

http://www.citizenre.com/web/index.php?p=home is their website.
Here is some more light shed on “CitizensRE”

It turns out that Robert Skyler, Founder and Head of CitizensRE trained under the master scam artist: Bill Gouldd who built up the ultimate pyramid scheme in Equinox International the Multi-Level Marketing company that flared across America in the early 1990s and lured thousands of Americans into handing over their money, time, and, most often, their self-respect in pursuit of quick fortunes. Equinox used slick promotional materials and pop psychology-based training techniques to induce thousands of people to purchase environmentally friendly products (water filters, vitamins, hair and skin care products) to resell to friends and family for profit. Eventually the US Government (Federal Trade Commission) shut down Equinox for legal and ethical improprieties and fined Gouldd millions.

Robert Skyler served as Executive Director of Equinox International and helped to stovepipe money up from the pyramid of hapless investors to the founding circle. He then went on to write a book about it (to further cash in) called: “Spell Bound – The Fatal Flaw behind what was America’s Fastest Growing Company”.

With the claims being made and the secrecy, I doubt it is much of a surprise to anyone that the founder of CitizensRE has a history of Pyramid schemes. Will be interesting to see how this plays out. Could become a real setback for the honest folks out there who have been trying to make solar happen.

http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,72752-1.html?tw=wn_story_page_next1
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Comments

  • RoderickRoderick Solar Expert Posts: 253 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Scam Alerts

    This company has been roundly criticized on Usenet, where postings were being spammed completely off-topic. On alt.solar.photovoltaic, people were quick to point out basic flaws in the business model. I think some of the people who frequent this board helped to set things straight, too. Amazing what people will fall for. The good news is, it looks like only the original investors were out money - the later recruits did not have to pay anything (yet).
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    NanoDetonator

    Interesting,

    By the time Citizenre even breaks ground on manufacturing, solar will have been developed to a point of affordability for the masses, so their plan will be obsolete. I have never seen so much hype with so little substance, but then again, the current CEO was former MLM Equinox hypester, which was shut down by FTC several years back. Sure has been interesting watching this deal unfold, or should I say, fold.

    NanoDetonator
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    They have been getting a lot of flack lately, even had a really negative article in the last Home Power magazine
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: Scam Alerts

    www.Freetricity.com

    We have never sold these, nor do we intend to.

    There have been quite a few comments - nearly all negative - on some other forums and newsgroups.

    We looked at their website, and it is apparent that they have a very poor concept of batteries, battery charging, how inverters work, and various other basic math and ohms law calculations.

    One person from there claiming to be an electrical engineer with 28+ years of experience does not seem to grasp the idea that if an inverter puts out 10 amps at 120 volts, it has to draw at least 100 amps at 12 volts from the battery.

    Our conclusion - stay away.
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: Scam Alerts

    Still another pie-in-the-sky "run your meter backwards" wind scam:

    http://www.windelectriccompany.com/index.html


    The figures that he gives for power production exceed the maximum possible at those wind speeds, even with perfect props and 100% efficiency.

    " In a 16 mph wind with a 9 foot
    diameter rotor (their 'rated output' on the website), 1324 watts are
    available. A 'perfect' turbine running right at the Betz limit could do
    at most 784 watts. They claim 1000.
    Claims of beating Betz put the turbine right in the 'fraud' category. It
    just doesn't happen, not even with utility-scale turbines..."
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: Scam Alerts

    http://www.cetsolar.com/solardrapes.htm

    These so-called "solar drapes" prey on the general ignorance of people on how the greenhouse effect works.

    Pretty much all of the sunlight that enters in a window is converted to heat, no matter WHAT object it hits - floor, rug, white curtains, anything.

    Since heat is mostly infrared, and glass blocks most infrared, most (around 80-90%) of ANY sunlight that enters a room will heat that room - "solar drapes" or not.

    This is your basic greenhouse effect. The drapes give the appearance of working, because they feel warmer since the sunlight converted to heat is concentrated a bit more, but they do absolutely nothing to increase overall heating.
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,959 ✭✭✭
    Re: Scam Alerts

    Well, the drapes offer the protection for interior surfaces which is worth something. Carpet, flooring and furnature will all be bleached if left day after day in and expose location.

    While one could make drapes from say gardening weed sheets to save some dollars, it really not fair to say this product is a scam. It protects the interior and does put the barrier to converting to UV inside.

    Not cost effective, probably, scam, no
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 7,249 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Scam Alerts
    does put the barrier to converting to UV inside.
    Not cost effective, probably, scam, no


    Whoa !
    plain window glass converts UV to IR, about 85% efficient at it too. Eventually, stuff on a dashboard or indoors will beach.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,769 admin
    Re: Scam Alerts

    I would go with "scam-ish" based on the wording of their website:
    Transform Any Sunny Window
    into a Radiant Heater
    Here’s the most inexpensive and efficient way to transform sunshine into radiant heat inside your home, RV, boat, camper or office. This passive solar heating fabric hangs inside on clear sunlit widows. It's UV resistant, safe, non toxic, doesn't smell, and very easy to use.

    The specially designed heat tolerant, black high density plastic material absorbs and traps solar energy against clear glass windows, much like the dashboard does under your car windshield—even on a cloudy day.

    If it was marketed as a way to get heat into a room with less UV--that is one thing... In this case, they are saying it will "Transform" your window into a radiant heater... Because these will keep much of the heat against the window--it is more likely to reduce overall heat gain vs just an open window shining into a room.

    For a green house, we use the same material to reduce heat/sun during the summer to prevent cooking the plants. We don't use it to get the green house warmer.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • crewzercrewzer Registered Users, Solar Expert Posts: 1,832 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Scam Alerts

    Here's a new one I cam across today: http://www.heatsurge.com/overview.cfm

    It's a 1,500 W heater ("...an amazing 5,119 BTU's") starting at $249!

    :grr
    Jim / crewzer
  • RedfordRedford Solar Expert Posts: 38
    Re: Scam Alerts

    I've always wondered about SUPERTHERM.

    I am usually skeptical about anything that has a prefix of "super". (except Superman of course) but getting an R-value of 15 from a single coat of paint?
    I just don't see that happening.

    http://www.supertherm.us/supertherm_home.htm

    "In testing, SUPER THERM outperformed one inch of styrofoam board, four inches of polyurethane foam, and 6-8 inches of batt insulation. This translates directly to dollars in your pocket."

    "The product that was developed from the NASA-aided research is known as SUPER THERM"

    I've never know anyone to use it.........
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: Scam Alerts

    Looks like we might have another one - this one looks like it might be an MLM type thing. Their claims are a "bit" exaggerated, to say the least.

    http://www.power-save1200.com/index.html
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,769 admin
    Re: Scam Alerts

    Here is a detailed post, with comments, on the Power-Saver... Apparently, they were even posting fraudulent report using a university's name.

    Yes, scam...

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: Scam Alerts

    The sad part is that people actually buy that stuff and give the whole RE industry a bad name.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,769 admin
    Re: Scam Alerts
    Windsun wrote: »
    The sad part is that people actually buy that stuff and give the whole RE industry a bad name.

    Probably, the really sad part is, that many (if not most) of these people are convinced that it really works ("...my following month's power bill dropped by xx%...") and are very happy with their purchase... (who knows why--they are thinking about their power usage--because of the purchase/install, weather differences, etc.)...

    Why spend any more time and effort to save energy when I can cut my power bill by "25-30%" for $299.95--conservation, solar, and a comprehensive energy policy is for "losers"...

    In the link two posts up I gave--one guy actually purchased a kill-a-watt meter and went to the pool company where one of these companies filmed their "demonstration":
    This is very interesting and it shows how pervasive these hoaxes can be. I ran into this a year ago after reading an article in the Louisville Courier Journal newspaper about an Indiana firm, Titon Energy, that promotes these devices, which were touted to be patented by the firm's President. They have a website that showed a demonstration of their "Utilisaver" device reducing the amperage to a pool pump motor claiming it would reduce utility bills.

    They used a "Kill-A-Watt" meter, a handy $27 plug in device that measures voltage, amps, watts, volt-amps, power factor, and, over time KWH's.

    I bought one and went to the same place they filmed their demo, a pool supply store, and ran the same test.

    Without the "Utilisaver" connected the 120 volt motor drew 9 amps at 69% power factor, 740watts, and 1066 voltamps. With the "Utilisaver" connected the supply side reading [the one the utility company meter sees] was 6.4 amp at 98% power factor, 740watts, and 757voltamps. The same wattage, the same effect on the utility meter; NO SAVINGS.

    I could never get the Titon Energy people to clarify this. They kept claiming that the utility meter reading is based on amperage and the reduced amperage means lower billing.

    I don't know how these companies continue to operate under the radar of law enforcement.

    James Wilson, PE June 27 2007, 10:56 am EDT
    The difficult part is convincing people that your electric power meter is really a "Power Meter" and not a Volt*Amp meter...

    After a lot of earnest explanations about the difference between the two, physics, cosines, real and apparent power, phase angles, etc... "Their" eyes glaze over and say that "we" have "closed minds" and are trying to keep alternative energy products buried at the behest of Big Oil and Big Power... :roll:

    If you want a laugh out loud, overly dramatic, "Moses and the tablets from on high" sermon for their version of the Power Saver 1200R. Go to the Titon.com website (only if you have high-speed Internet--big flash movie).
    [as video starts with a "star" that zooms into a Google Earth type image] In the vast universe, where no-one knows its edge--There is one tiny speck that appears to be insignificant--When you look closer, it is quite significant--It is planet Earth, it is our world--it is our home...
    Here is a YouTube demo from Titon... Does show before and after power factor correction by adding capacitors--but does not say why anyone would do it. Of course, Power Factor Correction make sense for companies running large motors. Funny watching the guy jam a pair of electricians pliers into the 1/2 hp motor pulley to load the motor (terrible grinding noise in audio).

    Here is another youtube demo [sorry, broken link] by a guy trying to sell these things... Very clearly, using a clip on amp meter has a title of "Work" Being Performed 8.6 amps -- And, of course with the capacitors in th circuit, only 5.5 amps being use and a title of Amp Draw = "Work"= $ spent...

    A few people in the comments said flat out that this is wrong, power company charges for kWhours, not AmpHours, etc... Video guy argues back in one post:
    Basic theory does not work here, nor does the Pythagorean theory. Capacitors are an anomaly. Buy one and try it for yourself before you scream "SCAM". The math works, so does the savings. Go harass someone else with your basic theories. I sell REAL equipment in a REAL world that produces REAL savings.!
    ...
    Don't you have a job or something else to do? Go bug someone else for awhile. Your arguments are weak and in my favor.
    ...
    You do not multiply ANYTHING by a percentage of power used. You use REAL numbers. I say AGAIN, BUY ONE and see for yourself. Your math is second rate and your argument third rate. Power factor is not measured in percentages for crying out loud! Your example is totally wrong! And I also say, you have not saved ANYONE any money on their power bills...I HAVE! Give it up...you are full of yourself! PS, you will never, ever correct PF to unity, so your math and argument are totally screwed up!
    All for a good laugh... But it is easy to scam almost anyone--we all want to save money and use the "seeing is believing" method of learning.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: Scam Alerts
    "Their" eyes glaze over and say that "we" have "closed minds" and are trying to keep alternative energy products buried at the behest of Big Oil and Big Power... :roll:

    We used to get at least 2-3 phone calls a week like that. Not so much anymore, I guess because they are now all buying the Magic Capacitors that we refuse to sell to them....

    No matter how much education is available, there will always be a market for junk science and horoscopes :cool:
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,769 admin
    Re: Scam Alerts

    Just for the heck of it, my TOU utility meter does have a current PF display option--so I took a few quick measurements:

    5:50pm 6pm, ~100 watts of grid tied solar, zero watts from a freezer (freezer has a PF=0.95 on the Kill-A-Watt meter), and other misc. power adding up to about 100 watts at the meter; PF=0.20

    6pm, ~100 watts of grid tied solar, a 110 watt from a freezer, and other misc. power adding up to about 200 watts at the meter; PF=0.75

    6:05pm, ~100 watts of grid tied solar, a 110 watt from a freezer, 1,800 watts from Microwave, and other misc. power adding up to about 2.04 kwatts at the meter; PF=0.95

    Noon, ~200 misc watts (wall adapters, fridge, etc.), 2,600 watts of grid tied solar, 2.40 kWatts at meter; PF=1.00 (nice job Xantrex and Solar Guppy!).

    No need for a Power Saver 6100 for my home.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Scam Alerts

    though the science of it may be sound, the caps are useless for residential use as most residential customers don't get charged extra for power factor. large industrial places with large electric motors could use those caps as they are penalized and charged for it.
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: Scam Alerts
    niel wrote: »
    though the science of it may be sound, the caps are useless for residential use as most residential customers don't get charged extra for power factor. large industrial places with large electric motors could use those caps as they are penalized and charged for it.

    True, but I doubt that they would be buying those "Power Saver" units at their local flea market, where they are often sold. :p
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Scam Alerts
    Redford wrote: »
    I've always wondered about SUPERTHERM.

    I am usually skeptical about anything that has a prefix of "super". (except Superman of course) but getting an R-value of 15 from a single coat of paint?
    I just don't see that happening.

    http://www.supertherm.us/supertherm_home.htm

    "In testing, SUPER THERM outperformed one inch of styrofoam board, four inches of polyurethane foam, and 6-8 inches of batt insulation. This translates directly to dollars in your pocket."

    "The product that was developed from the NASA-aided research is known as SUPER THERM"

    I've never know anyone to use it.........

    there was a story in consumer magazine I was reading in the doctors office. They said they realty made this in NASA and use it on the space shuttle and gave it a good report, they said you can get the ceramic dust to add to any paint too, they also said when they started testing they were skeptical because all paint is an insulator but were surprised by the results.
    I was going to look it up but forgotten all about it till now. there are more then one brand they said but I don't remember which one other then it was from NASA.
  • wild01wild01 Solar Expert Posts: 90 ✭✭✭
    Re: Scam Alerts

    here's another one

    http://earth4energy.com
    Why pay $1000's for solar or wind power when you can build your own professional system for less than $200?! (in your own backyard)
  • shastaronshastaron Registered Users Posts: 24
    Re: Scam Alerts

    A pretty cheesy testimonial. The so-called proof picture was actually a 3D-CAD drawing off a home computer landscape design program and not a picture.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,769 admin
    Re: Scam Alerts

    As a favor to some drive-by posters--Here is your ad for:

    Energy4Green.com


    Everyone else, looks exactly like the Earth 4 Energy scam... [edit to add spaces to get past spam filter.-BB]

    75% percent "MLM" (multi-level-marketing) click through links--posted by somebody using a US VPN/Proxy--probably out of China.

    Everyone else, I would suggest that you avoid like the plague as these folks don't list any contact names, phone numbers, or addresses on their "contact page"... Just a "gmail" account.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Scam Alerts

    i wouldn't have even bothered putting that link here as you had just beaten me to banishing that one.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,769 admin
    Re: Scam Alerts

    Those are not links--just text--so there should not add to the Link Farm ratings... However, I want to do the "spammer" a "favor". :p

    I have been banning a few posters now that are link farming the two above websites over the last couple weeks--and some are from China or using a US proxy (listed on Chinese language BBS).

    One cell phone / electronics scammer I banned a few days ago--user name was registered from China and the ad posted here out of Nigeria.

    Looks like "it" is picking up again somewhat...

    -Bill

    PS: Also, I want to make sure that nobody follows these links/scams and gets hit with credit card fraud or identity theft.
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Scam Alerts

    sorry as i meant address, but i suppose if they are warned here and do it anyway then shame on themselves.
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: Scam Alerts

    Another great deal at only $20 a watt or so. But you do get "a massive deep cell battery".

    mysolarbackup dot com

    Also see http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2009/08/clean-energy-scams-and-what-to-do-about-them

    http://blog.mapawatt.com/2009/08/20/renewable-energy-scams/
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Scam Alerts

    I haven't seen this thread comment on one of the biggest scams out there: magniwork. I covered it on my blog titled Magniwork perpetual motion scam.

    I also have a running list of renewable energy scams.

    This is a great thread. The more interest in "green" technology that is out there, the more scammers are going to try and take advantage of it. Since energy is an inherently difficult concept for the "average Joe" to understand, it is easy to suck them in. The only option is for people like us to remain vigilant and call out the fakes.

    Check out this mock scam site, basically making fun of the scammers and the people gullible enough to fall into their trap.
  • russruss Solar Expert Posts: 593
    Re: Scam Alerts

    I have tried the Supertherm type of materials on an industrial basis with supervision from the supplier - total failure! As we wanted to really see what the affect was we did temperature surveys daily for a month before installation and a month afterwards - no real difference on the outside steel temperature. We had different sections of the firebox done in different manners to see if there was a correct combination but the stuff is of no use.

    The funny things about the capicators (power factor improvers) is that people swear they have seen improvement and major reductions in their bills when there is no way for it to be true. I guess they just don't want to admit they were screwed.
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: Scam Alerts

    A new type of scam - solar marketing.

    We have not had any experience with this or any similar outfits, but something to watch out for is another solar "work at home" scam.
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