ID thieves promising help for utility bills

ID thieves promising help for utility bills

Credit: Associated Press

ID thieves promising help for utility bills

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WVEC.com

Posted on July 19, 2012 at 7:03 AM

Updated Thursday, Jul 19 at 7:05 AM

NORFOLK -- Don't believe anyone who calls or stops at your home telling you about a new federal program to help you pay your utility bill. It doesn't exist.

The scheme has been making its way around the country, in time for these hots summer months,  and is now hitting unsuspecting people in Virginia and North Carolina.

Identity thieves are using the utility bill-paying scheme to get your personal information and then providing victims with a fake bank routing number to give the power company when they pay their bill.

The Better Business Bureau says thousands of people have been victimized by this fraud.  As the saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Dominion Virginia/North Carolina Power says its now getting reports from its customers about the fraud.

"Unlike the scam artists, our employees never call and ask our customers for their social security numbers. In person, our employees are required to carry Dominion IDs with them at all times," Bonita Billingsley Harris with Dominion VA/NC Power told WVEC.com.

She stresses that anyone contacted about this Contact law enforcement if you receive a call, text message or other request.

TIPS TO AVOID THE SCHEME:
Do not give out your social security number or bank account info to anyone who claims that President Obama or a new government program will help pay your utility bills.

If you are contacted by someone who claims to be from Dominion and they ask for your social security number or account number, do NOT provide it.

If someone comes to your door saying they’re from Dominion, ask to see their ID badge. If they can not provide it, do not answer any questions.

Never give your personal information to anyone you don't know.

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