A scam that is making its way around the country and scamming thousands of people involves scammers notifying their victims that the victims are eligible for a utility payment assistance program authorized by President Obama. The victims are told that all they need to do is to register for the program by providing their Social Security number and other personal information. They are then given bank account numbers and bank routing numbers to be used to pay electronically their utility bills. One unfortunate reason that the scam has proved so successful for scammers is that when the utility companies receive the initial electronic payment, they apply the amount sent electronically to the bill of the scam victim so it appears for a while that the program is actually real. However, once the electronic payment fails to clear, the payment is rescinded cancelling the payment and making the victim liable for late fees. Meanwhile the victim has given his or her Social Security number and personal information to the scammer that can be used to make the victim a further victim of identity theft.
There is no such utility payment assistance program. Do not fall for this scam. If you are ever told that there is a federal or state program for which you are eligible for benefits, check out your eligibility on your own directly with the state or federal agencies involved. Never give your personal information to anyone unless you are sure who they are.