Scammers committing a particularly painful form of identity theft appear to have hit on just the right formula to trick thousands of victims: A punishing heat wave, large utility bills, a bad economy and a good story.

The criminals have been marching across the country, making their way from state to state, persuading victims that a special federal government assistance program — sometimes described as a bailout authorized by President Barack Obama’s administration — is available to pay their utility bills. Victims are given bank account and routing numbers to use when paying their bills online, but only after they “register” by surrendering their Social Security numbers and other personal information.

By Bob Sullivan, MSNBC

Posted by Libergirl