AKRON -- FirstEnergy is warning its customers to be wary of claims that President Obama will help pay residential utility bills through a federal program.
The program is bogus and simply a ploy to get customers to give up their personal information leaving them vulnerable to identity theft.
Customers in several states have reported the scheme. In each instance, customers are asked to provide Social Security numbers in return for a bank routing number that will pay their utility bills. FirstEnergy says the routing numbers are phony and no federal money is paid towards their bill.
Victims have been approached via door-to-door visits, phone calls, fliers, email, text and social media. Customers should notify local police if they believe they have been a victim.
The company offers these tips to protect customers:
- FirstEnergy employees do not ask for sensitive information such as Social Security or bank routing numbers.
- Customers should use only methods authorized by FirstEnergy to pay their bills.
- Don't allow people claiming to be utility workers into your home without proper identification.
- FirstEnergy workers always carry a photo identification and field employees wear uniforms and drive marked vehicles.
- FirstEnergy workers visit customers at home only in response to a service request. If you have not scheduled an appointment do not allow the person inside your home.
To verify the authenticity of anyone claiming to be a FirstEnergy utility employee, or for any other concerns, please phone our FirstEnergy operating company Contact Centers from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday-Friday, at the following numbers:
- Ohio Edison, 1-800-633-4766
- The Illuminating Company, 1-800-589-3101
- Toledo Edison, 1-800-447-3333
- Met-Ed, 1-800-545-7741
- Penelec, 1-800-545-7741
- Penn Power, 1-800-720-3600
- West Penn Power, 1-800-686-0021
- Jersey Central Power & Light, 1-800-662-3115
- Mon Power, 1-800-686-0022
- Potomac Edison, 1-800-686-0011