OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The City of Oak Ridge is warning its customers about a multi-state, utility scam that it said has already affected 10,000 customers across the country, costing victims anywhere from $100 to $2,000.
Officials cited national reports that described how the perpetrators would call, text, visit, or contact potential victims through social media to publicize the scam. They would also simply post fliers about it.
Scammers would tell victims that President Obama has approved special funding through the Federal Reserve Bank for utility bill assistance. No such funding exists.
Customers are then given fake bank accounts and routing numbers to use when they pay their bills. They are also asked to enter their Social Security number and other personal information. In some cases, the scam even appears appears to work initially, with a credit appearing on the customer's account. Eventually though the bank will refuse payment and customer's money is lost and their bill often lapses to past due.
Oak Ridge Electrical Director Jack Suggs said he has seen no cases there, but she still wants customers to be wary.
“Scam artists rely on the honesty of most people and their inherent optimism to take financial advantage. Because of demographic makeup of the City and the geographic spread of this scam, we expect it to appear here shortly,” he said.