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Recent scam claims to pay utility bills

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A new scam has surfaced across the nation claiming President Barack Obama will pay utility bills with a new federal program.

Customers from the utility company FirstEnergy Corp have reported this scamming problem, and other utility companies have sent out warnings to their customers about the new scam.

According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) in Southwest Missouri, scammers ask for the Social Security number and bank routing number of the person they are trying to scam. Then they give the person a false bank routing number that supposedly will pay their utility bills.

In actuality, there is no money, and the person thinks they have paid their utility bills when they have not.

Scammers contact people personally through flyers, different forms of social media and personal text messages. These say that President Obama is providing credits or payments for utility bills.

The BBB in Southwest Missouri offers the following tips to avoid falling for this scam:

* Individuals should never give out Social Security numbers, credit card numbers or banking information at any time unless they have personally initiated the communication and feel confident in the person or business receiving the information.

* Community members should never allow a person into their home to check electrical wiring, natural gas pipes or appliances unless they have a scheduled appointment or have a problem with utilities.

* If an appointment has been scheduled, it is a good idea to ask for identification before allowing the individual into the home.

* If someone calls claiming to be a utility company and they ask for immediate payment or personal information, terminate the call immediately and call the customer service phone number found on a current utility bill.

For more information on current scams, visit swmo.bbb.org.



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