Texas AG: Don't Fall For the Utility Payment Scam
The Texas Attorney General's Office is warning folks about yet another identity theft wave that's been separating people from their money: the so-called utility bill payment scam.
The AG's Office writes that "using in-person solicitations, social media, fliers, phone calls and text messages, scammers are contacting customers and claiming that a new federal program established by the Obama Administration is providing free utility bill payment credits or applying payments on customers' behalf."
And all that's needed is -- guess what? -- your Social Security and bank routing numbers. In return, the victim is given a "Federal Reserve bank routing number" to pay his utility bills.
Here's what the AG's Office advises, should you be contacted by one of these assholes: don't give that kind of personal information to "anyone who requests it during an unsolicited phone call or in-home visit." Also, if said caller/visitor says it's OK to give them the info because they work for the local utility company, "call recipients should hang up the phone and call the customer-service number on their utility bill." (We sorta like how they lift out the part about "...and patiently wait four hours before you reach an actual human being.")
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Also, don't allow anyone in your house to check the wiring, gas lines, or appliances "unless an appointment has been scheduled or a utility problem has been reported. Anytime a utility employee arrives at a residence, the occupant should require that the employee produce proper identification." (Like, say, their Social Security and bank routing numbers -- HEY-OH!).
It's a shame that scumbags like this are preying on the naive and unsophisticated. Now if you'll excuse us, we have to get back to e-mailing this deposed Nigerian prince.