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LIPA Warns About Billing Scam

Consumers told of fake program to pay utility bills.

The Long Island Power Authority is warning customers about a new nationwide utility bill scam claiming that President Obama will pay your utility bills through a new federal program. While there have been no reports of customers victimized by this latest scam, LIPA encourages anyone contacted to notify local law enforcement officials in your area to investigate.

How the scam works:
Consumers have been contacted in person, through fliers, social media and text messages with claims that President Obama is providing credits or applying payments to utility bills.

To receive the money, scammers claim they need the consumers' social security and bank routing numbers. In return, customers are given a phony bank routing number that will supposedly pay their utility bills. In reality, there is no money, and customers believe they have paid their bills when in fact they have not.

LIPA encourages customers to use the following tips from the Better Business Bureau to avoid falling for this scam:

  • Never provide your social security number, credit card number or banking information to anyone requesting it over the phone or at your home unless you initiated the contact and feel confident with whom you are speaking.
  • If you receive a call claiming to be your utility company and feel pressured for immediate payment or personal information, hang up the phone and call the customer service number on your utility bill.
  • Never allow anyone into your home to check electrical wiring, natural gas pipes or appliances unless you have scheduled an appointment or have reported a utility problem. Also, ask utility employees for proper identification.
  • Always think safety first. Do not give in to high pressure tactics over the phone for information or in person to get into your home.

LIPA, a non-profit municipal electric provider, owns the retail electric Transmission and Distribution System on Long Island and provides electric service to more than 1.1 million customers in Nassau and Suffolk counties and the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens. LIPA is the second largest municipal electric utility in the nation in terms of electric revenues, third largest in terms of customers served and the seventh largest in terms of electricity delivered. In 2010, LIPA outperformed all other overhead electric utilities in New York State for frequency of service interruptions, and ranked second for duration of service interruptions. LIPA does not provide natural gas service or own any on-island generating assets. More information about LIPA can be found online at: http://www.lipower.org.

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