Beaufort County

Few fall for utility bill scam in Beaufort County, across state

achristnovich@islandpacket.comJuly 8, 2012 

A scam that offers federal grant money to help pay utility bills in exchange for personal financial information apparently is finding few takers in Beaufort County or across the state.

A few dozen of the more than 600,000 SCE&G customers in South Carolina have called to report the scam, according to Eric Boomhower, the utility's public affairs coordinator. He was not able Friday to say for sure if anyone from Beaufort County has been victimized by the scam.

However, the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office and municipal police said no one has reported the scam.

Here's how it works:

Victims are contacted through social media, by text message, by phone or by fliers, according to a July 3 SCE&G release.

The scammers attempt to gather Social Security and bank routing numbers by claiming the Obama Administration is "approving credits" or "applying payments to utility bills," the release said. Victims are told their bills will be paid through a different bank routing number, but that number doesn't exist.

The scam has been tried with customers of several utility companies around the country, according to SCE&G.

"We get reports of these types of scams a couple times a year," Boomhower said. He said the utility only accepts payments through its offices, mail, website or by phone payment provider.

SCE&G customers who believe they have been victims can call 1-800-251-7234.

Follow reporter Anne Christnovich at twitter.com/IPBG_CrimeNOB.

Key words

SCE&G, South Carolina Electric and Gas, scam, Barack Obama, utility bills,

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