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Scam reported by Better Business Bureau

WORTHINGTON -- According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), President Barack Obama is not offering to pay people's utility bills.

A new scam sweeping the nation is claiming Obama will pay utility bills through a new federal program. First Energy Corp. customers in several states have reported the scam, and other energy companies have issued warning to their customers.

Consumers have been contacted in person and through fliers, social media and text messages with claims Obama is providing credits or applying payments to utility bills.

To receive the money, the scammers claim they need the consumers' social security and bank routing numbers.

In return, customers are given a phony bank routing number that will supposedly pay their bills.

"In reality, there is no money and customers believe they have paid their bills, when in fact, they have not," states a BBB warning.

People should never provide social security, bank account or credit card numbers to anyone requesting it over the phone or at their home unless they initiated the contact.

Anyone who receives a call claiming to be from a utility company and feels pressured for immediate payment or personal information should hang up and call the customer service number on their utility bill.

"Never allow anyone into your home to check electrical wiring, natural gas pipes or appliances unless you have scheduled an appointment or reported a utility problem," the warning states. "Also, ask utility employees for proper identification."

Consumers are urged to think safety first, and not give in to high-pressure tactics over the phone or in person that could allow a stranger into your home or bank account.

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