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ID theft

All about how it happens and how you can keep it from happening to you.

Obama utility bailout is a scam

People fall for identity theft scams every day, and it seems a new scam pops up just about every day as well.

A new scam that has been making its way across the United States has fooled thousands of victims so far into thinking that President Barack Obama's administration will help them with their utility bills. This comes just in time for the soaring temperatures, which mean higher cooling costs. Aid, true aid, would be most welcome – this has made lots of people vulnerable to this particular scam.

The scam, disguised as a bailout, involves giving the victims bank account and routing numbers to use when paying their bills online – but this requires that they register with their Social Security numbers, as well as other personal information. 

News flash: The Obama administration has never rolled out any such program.

The scam fooled hundreds of people in Tampa, Fla. last week, and you can bet it's coming to your town as well. If someone comes knocking on your door and handing out pamphlets about this program, don't be fooled, even if they are wearing uniforms bearing the logo of your local utility company.

You may even see a Facebook post from a friend who says the program worked for him or her, because on the surface, the program seems to work. And spreading "success" stories on social media has played an active role in making the program seem legit. Once the bogus information is used to pay the bill, the victim gets a confirmation notice that the bill has been paid. The payment is later voided when the scam is discovered. 

Some people admit to being fooled because they figure that it's legit because it's an election year – that Obama has rolled the program out to secure votes. 

Don't fall for this scam. There is no such program, and attempting to use the information provided by scammers can result in not only your bill being unpaid, but also late fees and service interruption. 

Published Jul 09 2012, 12:04 PM by IdentityTheft
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