Don’t Fall for ‘Obama Will Pay Your Utility Bills’ Scam

by Angela Nazworth | July 13, 2012 5:28 pm

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[1] 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[2] has listed several scripts used in some of the schemes.

Sylvia Wood, spokeswoman for Tampa utility company TECO Energy (NYSE:TE[3]) 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.

Want to share your own views on money, politics and the 2012 elections? Drop us a line at letters@investorplace.com and we might reprint your views in our InvestorPolitics blog! Please include your name, city and state of residence. All letters submitted to this address will be considered for publication.

Endnotes:
  1. MSNBC: http://redtape.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/07/09/12634554-obama-paying-utility-bills-scam-victims-nationwide-think-so?lite
  2. Snopes.com: http://www.snopes.com/fraud/identity/utilitybill.asp
  3. TE: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=TE

Source URL: http://investorplace.com/investorpolitics/dont-fall-for-obama-will-pay-your-utility-bills-scam/
Short URL: http://invstplc.com/1nylMGO