The Better Business Bureau of Acadiana has received numerous calls since last week from consumers in the area regarding this scam. Payments made by the scammers' method will not process correctly and the money will not be applied to the customer’s bill. Customers will still owe the amount shown on their bills for the utility services they have used.
How the Scam Works:
Consumers have been contacted in person and through fliers, social media and text messages with claims that President Obama is providing credits or applying payments to utility bills.
To receive the money, scammers claim they need the consumers' social security and bank routing numbers. In return, customers are given a phony bank routing number that will supposedly pay their utility bills. In reality, there is no money, and customers believe they have paid their bills when in fact they have not.
Tips to Avoid Falling for this 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
The BBB of Acadiana works for a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising, investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses. Please contact the BBB at www.acadiana.bbb.org or (337) 981-3497 24 hours a day for information on businesses throughout North America.
The BBB of Acadiana services the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin, St. Landry and Vermilion.
Acadiana residents can now have BBB information in the palm of their hand with the official BBB Search app, a convenient, mobile BBB solution available for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. The app can be found at: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bbb-search-find-local-businesses/id440014505?mt=8.