Columbus, Ohio -- Columbia Gas of Ohio wants to alert its customers, and the general public, to a nationwide scam designed to elicit personal information and account numbers through a bogus offer of an “Obama Energy Credit.”
Utilizing personal calls, computer generated calls, emails and texts, social media and even door-to-door visits, scammers are offering gas and electric utility customers an “energy credit” to be applied to their utility bills and furnishing false bank routing and account numbers for customers to make a utility payment by computer or phone. Customers have to register for the credit by furnishing information including social security numbers and other information.
There is no such “energy credit” available and customers are advised to be wary of anyone claiming to represent a utility company asking for personal information and account numbers. The danger to customers is twofold. Divulging personal information including social security numbers could lead to identity theft and a host of problems as the scammers open fraudulent bank or credit card accounts using the information. In addition, customers' utility bills could go unpaid leading to late charges and potential disruption of utility service.
Columbia Gas of Ohio has not yet received any reports of Ohio customers subjected to the scam. Customers who receive such a call are urged to hang up and immediately call their utility company to report it. Columbia Gas customers should call 1-800-344-4077.
Columbia Gas of Ohio, with headquarters in Columbus, is one of the seven energy distribution companies of NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI). With approximately 1.4 million customers in 61 of Ohio’s 88 counties, it is the largest natural gas utility in the state. NiSource distribution companies serve approximately 3.8 million gas and electric customers primarily in seven states.