BALTIMORE, Md. (WUSA) -- Authorities are warning local residents of a new scam that claims to provide a federal government grant to pay off utility bills.
The scam claims that customers can have their outstanding utility bills paid off by paying $1,000 to $1,200 to obtain a federal grant authorized by the Obama administration.
Victims, who have turned up in Maryland and over a dozen states, are contacted by phone, e-mail and door-to-door solicitors, are asked to provide personal information including their social security number to complete the online transaction. They are then told that the grant was deposited into their account and their utilities bills were paid, when in fact the solicitors just gathered all the victims' personal information.
"Consumers should never give up their hard-earned money until verifying the legitimacy of an offer - no matter how enticing it may seem," said Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler. "The rule of thumb to follow is if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is."
Individuals who think they have been solicited with this scam can file a complaint with the Consumer Protection Division at http://www.oag.state.md.us/Consumer/complaint.htm or contact the consumer hotline at 410-528-8662 or 1-888-743-0023 for more information.
Consumers who believe they are victims of identity theft should call the Attorney General's Identity Theft Unit at 410-576-6491 or learn more information at http://www.oag.state.md.us/idtheft/index.htm.