New wave of scammers target utility customers
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (July 5, 2012) – Ameren is reissuing an alert that con artists are once again looking to scam customers in an effort to illegally obtain their Social Security numbers.
The scam is nearly identical to the one that occurred in mid-May. In response to the last incident, Ameren quickly alerted impacted customers and minimized the number of customers affected.
The Better Business Bureau reports this scam has affected utility customers in several states. According to reports, the scam claims President Barack Obama is applying payments or credits of up to $1,500 to the customer's utility bill. This is false. The scam calls for customers to make a payment “today” by using a bank routing number supplied by the scammers, and the number appearing on the back of their Social Security cards as the bank account number.
According to reports, scammers have visited customers in person, posted fliers and used social media and texting to send this false message.
“We have recently identified additional customer accounts that may have been scammed by these identity thieves and are notifying them.” said Carole Hunt, assistant treasurer, Ameren Services. "We carefully guard our customers' account information and we repeat that the best way for customers to protect themselves is to use only Ameren-authorized payment methods."
If an Ameren customer has recently made a transaction as described, they may call Customer Service in Illinois at (800) 755-5000, or, Missouri at (800) 552-7583.
Ameren offers these tips against scammers:
· Never give your credit card, debit card, Social Security, ATM, checking or saving account numbers to anyone who comes to your home, calls or sends an email requesting this information.
· If a caller claims to be an Ameren representative and asks for immediate payment over the phone or requests other personal information, hang up and call (800) 755-5000 in Illinois or (800) 552-7583 in Missouri.
· Never allow anyone into your home who wants to check your electrical wiring, natural gas pipes or appliances unless you have scheduled an appointment or have reported a natural gas leak and the person has proper identification.