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
- 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: