Image by Flickr user Neil T Keep it secret. Keep it safe.
An identity theft scam is circulating, luring people to share their personnel and bank details for a purported federal assistance program for utility bills.
The scam is happening around the country and, according to Molly Morris, general manager of customer service for South Carolina Electric & Gas, dozens of local customers are falling for the scam.
Customers have been contacted through phone calls, fliers, social media, text messages and via word of mouth with claims that President Obama is providing credits or applying payments to utility bills.
To receive the money, scammers claim they need the customers' 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.
"Bill payments are only accepted at SCE&G business offices, by mail, online or through SCE&G's phone payment provider, BillMatrix, by calling 1-800-450-9160," said Morris.
If someone believes they have been a victim of this scam, Morris recommends calling SCE&G's customer service department at 1-800-251-7234.
"We encourage our customers to call us if they have any concerns about their accounts," Morris said. "We want our customers to know the account number they are being given is fraudulent, and their bills are not being paid."
Morris added that if customers ever receive a call from someone claiming to be with a utility company and asking for payment, they should hang up and call customer service.
"Don't surrender to high-pressure tactics over the phone for financial information," she said.