Obama Utility Bill Scam
Article was added on Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Electric cooperatives and utilities across the nation are
reporting fraudulent activity related to the "Obama utility bill
Scammers committing a particularly painful form of identity
theft appear to have hit on just the right formula to trick
thousands of victims: A punishing heat wave, large utility bills, a
bad economy and a good story. The criminals have been marching
across the country, making their way from state to state,
persuading victims that a special federal government assistance
program - sometimes described as a bailout authorized by President
Barack Obama's administration - is available to pay their
utility bills. Victims are given bank account and routing numbers
to use when paying their bills online, but only after they
"register" by surrendering their Social Security numbers and other
personal information. Recently Santee Electric Cooperative members
have fallen victim to the scam, particularly in the Hemingway and
Johnsonville areas of Florence County.
There is no such utility payment assistance program. But
electricity users seem to be falling for the ruse everywhere,
making it in one of the more successful scams in recent times. The
old adage still holds true - if something appears too good to be
true, it probably is. Never give out your social security number or
bank account information to someone who calls you without verifying
What To Do
If you are contacted by anyone trying to sell energy vouchers,
call your local police. Do not give them any personal information.
Be especially protective of your social security number, bank and
credit card numbers, and driver's license number.
Legitimate companies will not call, email or go door to door
asking for your account number or password, so keep your account
information to yourself. You should also not assume that you can
trust caller ID to let you know where a caller is located. Because
scammers may use Internet calling technology, the area code you see
may not reflect where they really are.
Never let anyone into your home unless you have scheduled an
appointment or unless the person has proper identification.
Co-op members should be aware and know that these phone calls or
door-to-door visits are not valid. If members make payments though
Santee Electric's automated system or online with these fraudulent
vouchers, they will not only be held responsible for the amount of
the voucher, but will be charged a $30 returned check fee by Santee
Electric as well as a $30 returned check fee from most banks.
Please call 1-800-922-1604 with any questions and warn
neighbors, friends and relatives who may be susceptible to these
types of scams.
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