Obama Wants to Pay Your Electric Bill? Nope, it's a Scam
Obama paying electric bills under a new bailout program sounds too good to be true. It sounds like the perfect scam; something people want to believe.
Oh wait, it is a scam.
Using the bad economy and Obama's bailout as a ruse, scam artists are convincing people to give up personal financial information. In exchange the alleged criminals promise that federal funds will cover one month of utility costs.
Most scams move through digital channels so criminals can hide their identities.
This one goes beyond social media and may soon be knocking on your door.
Brazen scam artists are allegedly going door-to-door in some areas and encouraging people to take part in the utility paying fraud. They collect Social Security numbers and bank account information, claiming the information is necessary to set up the bill payment system according to The Detroit News.
The bills are paid but then payments are rescinded a short time later reports MSNBC. By the time people realize they've been duped, the criminals have their financial information.
Misusing someone's identifying information, which includes Social Security numbers and financial information, is a crime which most states call identity theft. The scam has reportedly affected thousands across multiple states. It's national effect might open fraudsters to federal prosecution as well.
This kind of fraud is all too common and this particular scam has affected people all over the country. Victims may also face late fees for unpaid electric bills and in some cases may temporarily lose service while the missed payment is sorted out.
To prevent identity theft, don't share your personal financial information with anyone unless you have initiated the conversation and you are confident the recipient is trustworthy. Don't respond to emails or other electronic requests that ask for your bank account or Social Security information.
If you've been a victim of this scam, contact your utility company set things straight. Obama isn't paying your electric bills just yet and don't let anyone tell you different.
- Don't fall for 'Obama will pay electric bill scam,' warns DP&L (Dayton Daily News)
- Detecting Identity Theft: Has Someone Stolen Your Identity? (FindLaw's Common Law)
- Top 3 Tips to Prevent Identity Theft (FindLaw's Common Law)
- 5 Tell-Tale Signs of Identity Theft (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)