FORT WAYNE – A scam that started sweeping the nation in June – claiming that President Obama will pay your utility bills through a new federal program – is now being reported in northeast Indiana.
The Better Business Bureau of northern Indiana issued a statement Friday saying that it is getting calls from consumers who have been contacted about the scam.
Scammers reach out in person, through fliers, social media and text messages, claiming that President Barack Obama is providing credits or applying payments to utility bills. Some of the calls come from people claiming to work for the person's utility company.
To steal money, the scammer gets the victim's Social Security and bank routing numbers. In return, the victim is given a phony bank routing number that will supposedly pay utility bills.
The customers believe they have paid their bills when in fact they have not, and their crucial information is in the hands of a thief.
The BBB offers the following tips on how to avoid scammers:
- Never provide your Social Security number, credit card number or banking information to anyone requesting it over the phone or at your home unless you initiated the contact and feel confident with whom you are speaking.
- If you receive a call claiming to be your utility company and feel pressured for immediate payment or personal information, hang up the phone and call the customer service number on your utility bill.
- Never allow anyone into your home to check electrical wiring, natural gas pipes or appliances unless you have scheduled an appointment or have reported a utility problem. Always ask utility employees for proper identification.
- Always think safety first. Do not give in to high-pressure tactics over the phone for information or in person to get into your home.