Atmos Energy warns customers of ‘Utility Bill Scam’
July 7, 2012
Despite what customers may learn from fliers, Facebook or even a text message, President Barack Obama is not going to pay your past due energy bill.
Atmos Energy Corporation, a natural gas distributor headquartered in Dallas, Texas with customers in Colorado, issued a news release Friday warning customers about the latest version of a scam that promises federal stimulus money in exchange for personal information.
The scam artist provides potential victims with a bank routing number to trick Atmos Energy customers into believing government funds are available to help citizens with past due utility bills, according to the release.
But no such program exists, said Brian Martens, an Atmos Energy representative based in Colorado.
There have been no confirmed cases of the scam at work in Colorado, but the North Carolina Attorney General and utilities in Florida have received reports from Atmos Energy customers claiming to have been contacted or victimized by those perpetrating the scam.
Although the scam has not yet reached Craig and Moffat County customers, Craig Police Chief Walt Vanatta said that doesn't mean it isn't on the way.
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"Never ever, ever, ever give away your personal information over the phone, particularly if you didn't initiate the call," Vanatta said. "If you receive a phone call from a strange company, or a company you're not familiar with, and they're asking for personal information or banking information, hang up the phone and contact your local authorities."
According to Better Business Bureau reports, scammers in North Carolina and Florida have visited Atmos Energy customers in person, posted fliers, and are using social media and text messaging claiming Obama will provide credit or directly pay utility bills.
The "Utility Bill Scam" represents a risk of identity theft, Martens said.
Customers should remember that Atmos Energy employees always carry proper identification and never ask for personal information like a social security number, the Atmos Energy release states.
Customers who believe to be victims of the scam should first contact their local authorities, Martens said.
Customers worried about potential problems with their bill because of the scam may also contact an Atmos Energy customer service representative at 888-286.6700.