The North Carolina Department of Justice is warning state residents about another scam. According to a news release from NCDOJ, scammers had previously threatened to cut off gas or electricity unless the victim immediately pays overdue bills they claim are owed. According to the news release, a new utility scam takes a different approach. Now the crooks are trying to trick you into providing your confidential information. They are publicizing their scam widely, using hi-tech means such as videos, texts, emails and websites, along with old-fashioned methods including flyers and phone calls.
In this scam, con artists try to convince victims that a government program will help them pay their bills. They say signing up for the program is simple - just provide your Social Security number and your bank’s routing number, and then pay your bill through an automated telephone system.
That is the setup, but the scammer’s goal is to make you a victim of identity theft by harvesting your private information. Piedmont Natural Gas says dozens of customers in the southeast have been contacted about the phony government program. The NCDOJ is urging state residents to not allow these crooks, or any other con artists, trick you into handing over your Social Security number or other confidential information.
If you think you’ve been victimized by this or any scam, file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division or call 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.