With severe heat waves plaguing residents across the U.S., a multistate scam is claiming that President Obama will pay your utility bills through a new federal program.
Consumers have been contacted through telephone calls, fliers, social media and text messages with bogus claims Obama is providing credits or applying payments to utility bills.
The Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota issued an urgent warning Monday with details of the scam.
To receive the money, scammers claim they need the consumer's Social Security and bank routing numbers. In return, customers are given a fraudulent bank routing number to pay their utility bill through an automated telephone payment service.
One reason the scam is spreading: It seems to work. Before the local utility company gets wise to the bogus account numbers being used, the payments are processed and initially credited to victims, who receive payment confirmation notices.
The victims often share their success stories with family and friends, who also fall for the scam. Only later are the payments rescinded.
Last week, 2,000 people were tricked in Tampa, and at least 10,000 people fell for the fake deal in New Jersey in recent weeks.