President Obama Is Not Paying Your Utility Bills – SCAM ALERT
There is no bailout that has been authorized by the Obama administration that is going to pay your utilities. Sadly though, people across the country are falling for this scam. The latest scam used in identity theft.
The scam works like this. You receive a call, text or email letting you know that you qualify to have your utility paid for by a bailout that has been authorized by President Obama’s administration. If you accept the offer, you give the scam artists your social security number and bank routing and accounting number. They then give you a bank account number to give to the utility to cover the bill.
The victim goes online or over the phone and provides the payment information to the utility, only to find out later it is a bogus bank account. TECO Energy in Tampa says that they have confirmed over 2,000 victims in their area, within a 24 hour period. It takes some time for the utility to figure out that the account is a sham so sadly people believe that their bill has been successfully paid for. Then they head over to Facebook, Twitter, send emails to family and friends, telling them about the program. Then they fall prey to the scam as well.
Caroline Morales of Bethlehem, Penn., told the Allentown Morning Call that she had been tempted by the scam.
“My neighbor comes running with a paper that had a routing and account number,” she told the paper . “She said Obama was helping people pay their utility bills, mortgage and any bills you had.” While Morales had her doubts, she said her mom told her, “It’s probably true since he is looking for votes.” – From MSNBC RedTape report
According to MSNBC there is a website called Snopes that tracks scams, and there appears to be several different versions of this scam listed there.
This scam even has an element not usually seen in identity theft. Door to door solicitors offering acceptance into the bailout program. Solicitors, however, may not even know they are working for a scam artist group, so they collect and give your information unknowingly to the thieves.
Utility customers who believe that their bill has been paid, are unknowingly subject to fees or even service interruption once it is discovered that the payment did not really clear. If you are unsure if your bill is current, call the utility company directly. You may have a wait time on the phone, since some utilities have seen a serious increase in calls due to the scam in addition to the crazy weather going on across the country.
Ultimately, remember the saying: if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is. Always check the validity of a company asking for your personal or financial information before giving it out. Once you have become a victim, it is hard to repair the damage.