Dozens of Jackson residents have been tricked into thinking they have signed up for a federal program which allegedly helps pay their electric bills. The scam artists are sending emails and making phone calls claiming that the government has set up a special bank account to help pay their utility bill. They are then given a number that they are supposed to then enter into the online payment system on JEA's website. No such bank account exists, and people are left thinking their bill is paid when in fact, it has not been. At this point it appears that the scam artists aren't benefiting financially from the ruse, other than some sort of twisted enjoyment in letting people think they have received help when they indeed have not. Some victims may be giving additional information to the scammers, such as social security numbers, etc--which of course opens the possibilities of identity theft etc. Meanwhile, locally, victims of the scam run the risk of having late fees added to their account or, even worse, having their utilities turned off. If anyone contacts you by email or by phone and tries this with you, please call JEA as they are trying to track down the culprits. JEA's number is 422-7500.
If you are having trouble paying your electric bills, there are programs available, but they will not be soliciting you by calling or emailing you. It is up to you to contact them. One such program is the LIHEAP program initiated by the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services. You can call 1-866-674-6327 to see if you qualify and how to ask for assistance.
If this economy has put you into a difficult economic situation and you don't know where to turn, there may be legal remedies for your difficulties. Contact us for a free consultation at (731) 423-1888.