Scam Alert: Obama Administration Will NOT Pay Your Utility Bill - Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Scam Alert: Obama Administration Will NOT Pay Your Utility Bill

A new identity theft scam that is sweeping the country claims that Americans can get federal financial assistance to help cover the cost of their utility bills.

Scammers are contacting customers claiming the Obama Administration established a new federal program providing free utility bill payment credits or applying payments on customers' behalf.

Here are different ways they might contact you:

  • Using in-person solicitations
  • Social media
  • Fliers
  • Phone calls
  • Text messages

Utility customers are told they must provide their Social Security and bank routing numbers to benefit. Victims who provide their sensitive personal information are given a so-called "Federal Reserve bank routing number" to pay their utility bills. Customers are led to believe that their utility bill will be paid if they use this routing number and insert their Social Security number as the bank account number.

In reality, there is no such program, no federal money and no payments ever applied to the customers' accounts. Customers who use the fraudulent bank routing number are still responsible for their utility bills and must make payments on their own.

To avoid falling for this scam, Texas utility customers should consider three tips:

  • Never provide Social Security numbers, credit card numbers or bank account information to anyone who requests it during an unsolicited phone call or in-home visit.
  • If someone calls claiming to represent the local utility company and demands immediate payment or personal information, hang up the phone and call the customer service number on your utility bill. Texans should never give in to high pressure calls seeking personal information.
  • Never allow anyone into your home to check electrical wiring, natural gas pipes or appliances unless an appointment has been scheduled or a utility problem has been reported. Anytime a utility employee arrives at a residence,  be sure to ask the employee to show proper identification.
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