BBB: Watch out for this utility scam

Posted at 5:23 PM, Jul 12, 2012
and last updated 2012-07-12 17:30:50-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Officials are warning folks in Central Virginia about a scam that’s been happening in several other states.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) said it has received reports of imposters who claim President Obama is giving credits — or applying payments for utility bills. The scammers then obtain the victim’s social security number and bank routing number.

Utilities companies told the BBB that scammers visited customers in person, posted fliers and even used social media and texting to target victims.

Tom Gallagher, President and CEO of the BBB serving Central Virginia, said in news release that citizens should trust their instincts. He said they shouldn’t hesitate to hang up the phone or tell a stranger to get off their property.

Here are other some tips from the BBB to avoid this type of scam:

  • Never provide your social security number, credit card number or banking information to anyone requesting it over the phone or at your home unless you initiated the contact and feel confident with whom you are speaking.
  •  If you receive a call claiming to be your utility company and feel pressured for immediate payment or personal information, hang up the phone and call the customer service number on your utility bill.
  • Never allow anyone into your home to check electrical wiring, natural gas pipes or appliances unless you have scheduled an appointment or have reported a utility problem. Also, ask utility employees for proper identification.
  • Always think safety first. Do not give in to high pressure tactics over the phone for information or in person to get into your home.