FORT MYERS, Fla. - A WINK News Call for Action warning: if you get a phone call from a friend or a stranger telling you that President Obama wants to pay your electric bill, it's not true! We first told you about this nationwide scam last month, but utility companies are saying not enough people paid attention.
According to LCEC, as many as 150 of their customers fell victim to the scam this weekend alone. The scammers call people telling them that the president or federal government wants to pay your electric bill. In exchange for your personal information, you get bank account information to use, to pay your bill.
The problem? Neither President Obama nor the federal government are paying your electricity bill.
A local Fort Myers woman, who doesn't want to be named, says her cousin passed along the bank account information to her.
"She said Obama is paying her light bill," the woman told us.
This weekend both FPL and LCEC said a lot of people called to pay their bills with a banking and routing number that wasn't theirs. But that bank account information was fake.
"Sometimes if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is," explained FPL spokesman, Neil Nissan.
Nissan told us that scammers will hand over the fake account for you to pay bill with, once they get your personal information.
"What's happening is customers are using it to try to pay their bill.... We want our customers to know this isn't real. It's false. They shouldn't provide any personal information and they shouldn't try to use any of this fraudulent account because at the end of the day, their bills aren't getting paid," he said.
And using any bank account number that's not yours could get you in trouble.
"As far as customers, any time you use banking information that isn't yours, it's illegal. That's why we're trying to get the word out to customers not to use that," Nissan told WINK.
Again, both LCEC and FPL said that if someone calls you about your bill, never give out your personal information.
If you recently paid your electric bill using a bank account number that wasn't yours, it's a scam. Call the utility company right away, let them know and pay your bill using your own information.
Both companies say letters are going out in the mail, letting customers know that their payments did not go through, but it may be too late to save those people from late fees.
For more information on how to protect your identity and how to avoid getting scammed, click on this link.