First Energy Corp Warns Consumers About Scam

August 22, 2012

Sometimes it can be tough to pay your energy bills, especially during the cold winters and hot summers. There are federal and state programs to help individuals who need them, but there are also a lot of scams. First Energy Corp., which is based in Ohio, recently warned customers about identity theft taking place using its name. Potential victims are being notified that they qualify for a special government program and that Obama will help pay their utilities for them. All they have to do is provide personal information.

In exchange for their information, victims get a phony routing number to use to pay off their utility accounts. Needless to say, they don’t get their bills paid off. And even worse, they think that they are so they no longer worry. This is a quick route to being contacted by a collections agency.

One of the scarier things about this scam is that the thieves are contacting consumers through several means, including going door to door, calling people on the phone and posting fliers in public places. The scam is also reported to be running across several states. If you’ve been contacted by someone claiming to be from First Energy, the company urges you to call 1-800-545-7741 to report it. You can also report it to local law enforcement; this is very important if you think you have already fallen for the scam.

It’s very important that you don’t trust companies that contact you and request your personal information, even if they are companies that you normally do business with. If you already have an account, the company should know your information and should not need to “verify it” in such a fashion. I’ve never been asked to give out my Social Security number, for example, when it has been a legitimate call.

The best way to handle such contact is to refuse to provide the information and then to contact the organization using a method you know to be correct – not one provided by the person who wants your information. Your identity theft protection plan can help you if your information gets into the wrong hands, but it is still up to you to do your best to prevent that from happening in the first place.