Scammers Tell Customers Federal Program Will Pay Utility Bills

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(Memphis) Memphis, Light, Gas and Water is receiving customer calls about an identity theft scam, convincing people of a federal assistance program for utility bills.

The scam is happening around the country. Recently, News Channel 3 reported Entergy had about 200 customers whose payments were processed by the scammers.

Now, Memphis customers are being hit.

The scammers work online, by phone and door to door. They ask for the customer’s social security number. They then give the customer a fake bank routing number to make a payment, promising credit on the account. That payment never gets to the utility company.

MLGW’s blog post states: “As part of the scam, customers are being told that President Obama has approved special funding through the Federal Reserve Bank for utility bill assistance. There is no such funding.”

“Always question, where is this going? What are you doing with my information? Why do you want it?” said Lucy Hadskey.

Hadskey is an MLGW customer who never gives out personal information. She believes the scam must be targeting elderly people, or more vulnerable parts of the population.

“This area is trying to revitalize, and we’re always supporting that. But we still have a lot of lower income people that aren’t as educated, trying to do better for themselves, that seem to be taken advantage of in this situation,” she said.

Other customers agree they would never give out their personal information. They said they follow the rule of thumb, never to share their social security numbers.

Aaron James said that targeting those who may need help is unacceptable.

“Anytime you have a situation where people are vulnerable, unfortunately there are going to be idiots that take advantage of them…And you know, that’s why we make golf clubs and baseball bats.”

MLGW said that customers who feel they’ve encountered a scam should call (901) 544-6549.