AG Hood: Phone scammers claim to help pay electric bills

JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - Attorney General Jim Hood is warning about a new phone scam targeting Mississippians. His office, as well as several power companies, have received reports about scammers claiming to offer government "stimulus" money to pay victims' electric bills, phone bills, credit card debt or collection agency fees.

The victim is commonly contacted by phone. Scammers tell the victim that they qualify for stimulus money and then may ask the victim to supply personal identifying information, such as a Social Security number or bank account number.

"In this most recent scam, we are seeing the cons ask for information from the back of your Social Security card rather than directly ask for your number," said Attorney General Hood.  "But be warned, that information can be used to verify or authenticate your social security number, which could help an identity thief open new credit cards or accounts in your name.  Never, ever share personal information over the phone, mail or internet, no matter who the caller claims to be."

Furthermore, the AG warns, the promise that scammers make to "pay your bill" is false, and you will most likely still be left to pay that bill. In fact, if you don't pay your bill in the expectation that somebody else is paying it, you could damage your credit or lose the service you have failed to pay for.

Hood said it's unfortunate that many victims of this scam are people who are already behind in their bills or are suffering financial problems.

If you think you have a friend or relative who may have fallen victim to this scam, call the Mississippi Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-281-4418.

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