CLEVELAND – A national scam claiming President Barack Obama is providing assistance with utility bills has surfaced in Cleveland. Late this evening, Cleveland Public Power was contacted by a customer using a fictitious bank routing number to pay her electric bill.
A quick search of the internet led CPP officials to a scam that has been spreading across the country from California to Tennessee and now Ohio. According to reports on the internet the scam is being spread via social media, texting and posters.
Joy Perry, Assistant Commissioner for Customer Service at Cleveland Public Power spoke with the customer caught in the scam and explained how the scam is spreading locally, “According to our customer a routing number is being passed via word of mouth. They are told to enter the routing number and a number from the back of their social security cards. It is unclear if this number is being used to access any personal information, but it is bogus and was denied through our payment system.”
Cleveland Public Power is advising all customers and all residents of the City of Cleveland that there is currently no federal program offering credits or payment of utility bills.
“Residents should be cautious of anyone offering checking account or routing numbers to pay their utility bills. If they are contacted by telephone they should immediately end the conversation. The City of Cleveland’s Department of Public Utilities does not call asking for payment over the telephone and we do not accept payments at your home. Any suspicious activity like this should be reported to the Cleveland Police Department,” said Assistant Commissioner Perry.
Cleveland Public Power will post notices about the scam on its website and through its social media sites.