The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

July 21, 2012

Dominion East Ohio warns about utility scam

CLEVELAND — Dominion East Ohio cautioned customers Friday not to divulge personal information such as a Social Security number or banking information to anyone offering to help them pay their utility bills through a federal program.  

According to the Better Business Bureau, there is no federal program to pay household bills, and providing personal information could lead to identity theft and credit issues.

According to the BBB, victims in states across the country have been contacted by phone, text message, social media and in person. They were asked to “register” their Social Security number and banking information and to make payments using what turns out to be a fake account number.

Dominion encourages anyone who is contacted about a government program proposing to pay utility bills to contact the BBB and local law enforcement officials. Dominion also cautions customers to ask to see an official Dominion ID from anyone who comes to their residence and claims to be from the company.

The BBB

provides these tips to avoid falling for scam:

n Beware of giving personal information over the phone.

n Use your own personal information. Never pay your bills with information that is not your own.

n Do your research. If you receive a call claiming to be from your utility company and feel pressured for immediate payment or personal information, hang up the phone and call the customer service number on your utility bill.

n Beware of the door-to-door sales approach. Never allow anyone into your home to check natural gas pipes, electrical wiring, natural gas pipes or appliances unless you have scheduled an appointment or have reported a utility problem.

n Be proactive. If you have already provided information to someone claiming to offer this service, contact your bank immediately.

n Inform others. Share this information with friends and family so they do not become victims.

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