The Public Service Commission of West Virginia is warning utility customers of a scam claiming the federal government will help pay the utility bills of residential customers. In different parts of the country, victims have been recruited by individuals going door-to-door, posting fliers and using social media and text messaging. The scam claims President Barack Obama is providing credits or applying payments to utility bills; however, in order to apply customers must provide personal information, such as a Social Security Number. The victims are then provided with a bank routing number through which to pay their bills. The routing number is fraudulent and the payments are not applied to the customer bills.
Although the scam has not yet been reported in West Virginia, the PSC is reminding West Virginians to be vigilant, use common sense if contacted about utility payments and keep the following precautions in mind:
• Utility company representatives always carry proper identification and do not randomly contact customers and ask for their Social Security number
• Citizens should not allow anyone, including persons claiming to be utility employees, into their homes without asking for proper identification and verifying the purpose for the visit
• Customers should only use methods authorized by the utility company to pay bills
• If someone shows up without an appointment asking to check an appliance or suggesting another electrical problem may be inside the home, residents should contact the utility company at the number on their bill or in the phonebook
For more information on authorized payment locations, contact your utility company.