Media contact: Janet C. Hart, APR, CFEE (704) 927-8617 officeUpdate: July 12, 2012
- This is an identity theft scam and it is being reported nationwide. It involves different types of utility bills including electric, water, telephone and natural gas. The BBB urges you to NEVER
give out your social security number or bank account number to anyone who contacts you, regarless of whom they say they are. If you have questions, please contact the BBB.
The BBB has issued a nationwide warning about a new scam claiming that President Obama will pay your utility bills through a new federal program.
How the scam works:
Consumers have been contacted through telephone calls, fliers, social media and text messages with claims that President Obama is providing credits or applying payments to utility bills.
To receive the money, scammers claim they need the consumer's social security and bank routing numbers.
In return, customers are given a fraudulent bank routing number to pay their utility bills through the automated telephone payment service.
The payment service initially ‘accepts’ the payment but then declines it within a few days when the bank account number is discovered to be fake.
The BBB has these tips to avoid becoming a victim of this scam:
Never provide your social security number, credit card number or banking information to anyone requesting to anyone who calls you, regardless of whom they claim to be representing.
If you receive a call claiming to be your utility company and feel pressured for immediate payment or personal information, hang up the phone and call the customer service number on your utility bill.
Never allow anyone into your home to check electrical wiring, natural gas pipes or appliances unless you have scheduled an appointment or have reported a utility problem. Also, ask utility employees for proper identification.
Always think safety first. Do not give in to high pressure tactics over the phone for information or in person to get into your home.
For more information about identity theft scams, please visit BBB.