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July 23, 2012

Dear Imbeciles: No, There Isn't a Stimulus Plan Designed to Pay Your Utility Bills (JWF)

This scam first caught my attention a couple of weeks ago via a report out of Cleveland.

A myth that President Obama is giving people money to pay their bills has prompted thousands of people across the country to try to pay for utilities, phone service and loans using bogus bank routing numbers.

United Way of Cleveland's 2-1-1 changed its answering machine Monday to say rumors of the Obama program were false after fielding dozens of calls.

Later that day, a United Way employee was on an RTA bus when a rider stood up and announced to fellow passengers that Obama was paying people's bills.

Now since about half the country is already on the dole, basically the government is already paying their bills. But since the advent of Hopenchange the expectations that life would be free of pesky things like paying your bills has risen greatly.

Apparently now this scam has moved east and to the shock of nobody, some dopes in New Jersey are falling prey. I'm entitled to call them dopes since I live among them.

The scam began on the West Coast in May or possibly earlier, and then quickly moved east.

The hook — cast through phone calls, e-mails and text messages — was the same. The federal government, in a new stimulus plan, would pay that month’s utility bill. To apply, all a customer needed to do was provide a Social Security number and their own bank routing code.

None of it was true. It was just an identity theft sting aimed at stealing personal information. Plenty of people, though, took the bait.

In Louisiana and Texas, Entergy Corp. reported about 2,000 of its customers were conned. Other power companies that cover Tampa, Fla., the Carolinas, parts of Mississippi and several Midwestern states also reported hundreds more being taken in by the phony offer.

But nowhere in the nation was the scam apparently more effective than in New Jersey.

Insert requisite Jersey Shore joke wherever.

It seems this really sophisticated scheme involving asking for a Social Security number is something new to the folks around here. On the upside, the primary local provider, PSE&G, is kindly reminding any idiots who fell for this that they still have to pay their gas bills. But they've got their work cut out for them since there's no shortage of stupidity in these parts.

Officials at Public Service Electric & Gas Co., the state’s largest utility, said more than 10,000 customers were taken in after news of the "free" utility bill payment program quickly spread — not by the still unknown scammers, but by customers themselves, eager to share their good fortune.
I really hope some reporter asks Governor Christie about this.

It's really difficult to imagine where people may have gotten the notion that Dear Leader was going to be paying their bills.

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posted by Guest Blogger at 01:25 PM

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