Identity theft scammers have led thousands of Americans to believe in the existence of a federal program that will pay their utility bills. Don’t fall for it.
The crafty criminals have been knocking on doors and ringing phones across the country asking folks to sign up for the program by submitting personal information including their Social Security numbers, MSNBC reports. In exchange for the information, the fraud victims are given phony bank account and routing numbers they’re told to use to pay their bills online.
The scam is spreading like wildfire. Fraudsters are contacting victims via phone calls, personal visits and the Internet. Snopes.com has listed several scripts used in some of the schemes.
Sylvia Wood, spokeswoman for Tampa utility company TECO Energy (NYSE:TE) offers the following advice to consumers.
“Customers should never pay their bills with information that is not their own,” Woods told MSNBC. “We’re encouraging them to use common sense.”
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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