This news item expired on Sunday, December 31, 2017 so the information below could be outdated or incorrect.
Sometimes scammers threaten to cut off your gas or electricity unless you immediately pay overdue bills they claim you owe. But 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 you that a government program will help you pay your 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. Don’t let 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.
This message brought to you on behalf of North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein.