From press reports
East Mississippi Electric Power Association warns its members not to believe the scam claiming that federal government stimulus money will pay their power bills.
The scammers claim that a new federal program will pay a member’s power bill if the member pays with an e-check using their account routing number and Social Security number in place of the bank account number. The victim is commonly contacted by phone.
“In this most recent scam, we are seeing the cons ask for information from the back of your Social Security card rather than directly ask for your number,” said Attorney General Jim Hood. “But be warned, that information can be used to verify or authenticate your social security number, which could help an identity thief open new credit cards or accounts in your name. Never, ever share personal information over the phone, mail or internet, no matter who the caller claims to be.”
The member then believes that the bill is paid; however, there is no money in the bank account. Many may not realize they have been scammed until the e-check is returned. The victim then faces returned check fees and possible late payment fees in addition to the cost of the power bill.
EMEPA urges members to be cautious with personal and financial information. 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. EMEPA will not call requesting your personal or financial information. If you do receive a call from someone claiming to be from EMEPA requesting such information, hang up and call your local EMEPA office.