Fast-Moving Scam Targets Customers Of Utility Companies

July 15, 2012–Amid numerous nationwide reports of scammers posing as various Utility Companies in order to obtain personal informationfrom homeowners for fraudulent use, Florida Public Utilities (FPU) urges residents to protect themselves by being aware.

Situation
Scammers posing as local utility companies contact customers and invite them to take advantage of a nonexistent federal program to pay their utility bills, often using the phrase ‘a bailout from the Obama administration’.

Intent
The goal is to obtain personal information from consumers. The victim’s social security number and other proprietary information is used to receive payments intended for utility companies, and conduct various other fraudulent activities.

Method
After “registering for the program”, customers are given a bank routing and account number to use when making their next payment; the payment is then routed to the scammer instead of the utility. Unfortunately, these payments are initially accepted and may take days to be processed and rejected by the customer’s bank.  Victims are contacted via phone, text messaging, social media and door-to-door visits.

Consumer Action
Florida Public Utilities reminds you NOT to share your social security number or other personal information with unverified sources. Be wary of anyone asking for such information and discontinue any communication that seems suspicious. You can also contact the Better Business Bureau (bbb.org, 800.646.6222) in order to verify the legitimacy of a related Company, program or offer.

FPU is a wholly owned subsidiary of Chesapeake Utilities Corporation.  Chesapeake Utilities Corporation (NYSE: CPK) is a diversified utility company engaged in natural gas distribution, transmission and marketing, electric distribution, propane gas distribution and wholesale marketing, advanced information services and other related services. Information about Chesapeake’s businesses is available at www.chpk.com.

For more information about this Scam Alert, please contact FPU’s Customer Care Team at 800.427.7712.