Scam alert: President Obama won’t pay your energy bills

AKRON — FirstEnergy Corp. is warning customers of its 10 electric distribution companies to be wary of bogus claims that President Obama will help pay utility bills for residential customers through a special federal program.

Reported in numerous states, the scam involves customers being asked to provide sensitive information, such as Social Security numbers, which presents an identity-theft risk.

The scammers then supply customers with a phony bank routing number to pay their bills. However, no government dollars are applied to customer accounts and the full balance remains due.

Online and door-to-door

Scam victims have been recruited by individuals going door-to-door, making phone calls, posting fliers and using email, text-messaging and social media.

FirstEnergy encourages customers to notify local police if they believe they are a victim of this fraudulent scheme.

Tips to follow

FirstEnergy offers these tips to help safeguard its customers from scams:

FirstEnergy utility employees do not ask for sensitive information such as Social Security numbers, bank account numbers, etc.

Customers should only use methods authorized by FirstEnergy to pay their electric bills;

Don’t allow persons claiming to be utility employees into your home without checking for proper identification. FirstEnergy utility employees always carry photo identification, and many of our field employees wear uniforms and drive clearly marked company vehicles;

FirstEnergy utility employees typically visit a home only in response to a service request. If no one scheduled an appointment, do not allow the person through the door;

To verify the authenticity of anyone claiming to be a FirstEnergy utility employee, or for any other concerns, phone any FirstEnergy operating company contact centers from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday-Friday, at the following numbers:

Ohio Edison, 800-633-4766; The Illuminating Company, 800-589-3101; Toledo Edison, 800-447-3333; Met-Ed, 800-545-7741; Penelec, 800-545-7741; Penn Power, 800-720-3600; West Penn Power, 800-686-0021; Jersey Central Power & Light, 800-662-3115; Mon Power, 800-686-0022; and Potomac Edison, 800-686-0011.

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