A number of electric customers nationwide have fallen prey to telemarketing scam artists who offer assistance with energy bills.
According to electric co-operatives, residents are being told that President Obama will help pay energy bills under a special federal program. Customers are asked to provide personal information, such as a bank routing number or Social Security number.
“To our knowledge, our customers have not received phone calls relating to this bill payment scam,” said Britt Dye, Fayetteville Public Utilities’ CEO and general manager.
“However, we are aware of two electric cooperatives in Tennessee whose customers have reported being contacted by these scammers.
“Before you give your personal and financial information to anyone over the phone, we urge you to verify that the call is legitimate,” Dye added.
Six members of the Lexington, S.C., co-op were defrauded, and some had their power cut off because they believed their bills were paid but didn’t check with the company to verify the bills were, in fact, paid.
Attorney generals in Mississippi, North Carolina and Arizona, as well as Better Business Bureaus in several states, have issued consumer warnings.