Energy assistance scam hits valley

MARIETTA – Reports are surfacing throughout the region and the state regarding a scam targeting recipients of Ohio’s Home Energy Assistance Program, officials said Tuesday.

In several cases, a caller phoning from an 800 number claims to be a representative of the Home Energy Assistance Program or The Energy Assistance Program, the report from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said.

The caller informs the person who answers the phone he or she was awarded extra assistance because of the recent cold snap, the report said.

However, to claim the extra assistance, the caller requests the bank account information and the Social Security number of the supposed awardee, the report said.

When the person who receives the call hesitates, the caller states that this personal information is required in order to deposit the additional money directly into the person’s bank account, the report said.

When victims refuse to provide their information, the caller claims a check would be issued immediately, the report said. No details have been obtained as to whether any sort of checks are actually being mailed as a part of this scam, officials said.

Residents are urged not to provide banking or personal information, including Social Security numbers, the report said. The situation has been referred to as a scam by the sheriff’s report, and any offer of additional support made in this manner should not be taken seriously, officials said.

Residents are requested to report any such solicitation to law enforcement immediately, the report said.