The Omaha Public Power District is once again warning customers to be on the lookout for scam artists attempting to steal your money by gaining access to your financial information or obtain personal information such as your social security numbers in order to commit identity theft.
In the last few weeks, the latest ruse to gain traction is criminals going across the country, persuading victims that a new federal assistance program is available to help utility customers pay their bills. The program is described as a bailout authorized by President Barack Obama’s administration. Victims are given bank account and routing numbers to use when paying bills online after they “register.” Victims register by giving the scammers their Social Security numbers and other personal information.
There is no such federal program
Investigators and utility industry officials say the account and routing numbers are phony. What makes this scam unique is that in addition to telephone calls, scammers are also going door-to-door, handing out leaflets to people encouraging them to use the bogus account information to pay their bills. The scammers have also struck using social media, including emails, Facebook and bogus tweets
Again, there is no such government program.
In recent days, at least two incidents have been reported in the OPPD service territory. As your energy partner, OPPD wants to make sure that our customer-owners are aware and protected from this kind of negative and hurtful scam.
As always, the district reminds its customers to be careful of any strangers demanding financial account or credit card information as well as personal information such as Social Security numbers or a driver’s license number or making unusual requests.
In the recent past, other schemes have included scammers even asking whether customers have home or business security systems, requesting they turn the systems off to help the local utility “conserve energy” during times of heavy demand such as during a heat wave.