Govt Tax Credit Scam Targeting Utility Customers

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Across the nation, reports are coming in about a tax credit scam targeted at utility customers.  Several utility companies have issued warnings about the scam, reminding their customers that legitimate tax credits don't require you to give up personal information and aren't issued by people going door-to-door or soliciting over the phone. Reports indicate these scammers are contacting their victims by numerous means--including texting, social media, telephone and door-to-door

The scammers perpetrating the con are contacting utilities customers and telling them about a new credit offered by President Obama and the federal government. In some instances they are saying that an amount of up to $1500 will be credited toward their next electric, water or gas bill or will be deposited directly into their bank account. The scammers ask for "qualifying information" such as the victim's Social Security number, and in some versions of the scam ask for bank account numbers as well so that the credit can be deposited.  There is no actual credit, of course, and the information that the scammers get is used either to facilitate identity theft or to access the victim's bank account.

Perhaps the worst thing about this scam is that it attempts to take advantage of people using the economic hardship that so many of us have been facing in recent years.  Fuel and utility costs continue to rise, and given the short winter and hot spring that many parts of the country have experienced it sounds great to possibly get some money back on the utilities you pay.  It's important not to let the pinch of the economy get the better of your common sense, however; just like any other opportunity that sounds too good to be true, you shouldn't just trust the word of someone that you don't know who contacts you out of the blue.

If you are contacted by someone offering you a tax credit or refund that you've never heard of, don't just take their word for it that they actually represent your utility company.  Contact the company to verify the person's identity, either using the phone number on your last utility bill or looking up the number in the phone book...don't use any number supplied by the person in question ---ever.

Fraudulent activities should always be reported to your local law enforcement office and appropriate authorities.  Find additional information on how specific types of fraud complaints or cases of suspected fraud can be submitted to federal agencies at

Remember that it's up to you to protect your identity, and being suspicious of offers that come out of the blue is a good first step toward doing so. A good second step: talk to your family and friends about the latest scams and help spread awareness.

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