A nationwide hoax is heating up in Akron. Criminals are telling people President Obama will pay their utilities. Now, they're using the President's recent trip and a tragedy to fool people into giving out personal information.
We spoke with a woman, Antoinette, who is like dozens of others in the Akron area. Her friend told her about a one-time payment toward a utility bill that President Obama promised to her community and she jumped at the chance.
"It's hard for people to pay bills nowadays. I thought maybe it was a break, that maybe he was just giving people a break."
But the whole thing is a hoax. The fraudulent messages are spreading like crazy over email, social media and through word of mouth.
And now, specifically in Akron, the criminals are contacting consumers, telling them the payment is in honor of Ann Harris, owner of Ann's Place where President Obama stopped last week and who died of a heart attack just hours after the President's visit.
The Akron Better Business Bureau says they've received dozens of phone calls since Sunday from people who fell for the fake story and used the phony account number and routing number.
In exchange for the phony account number, unsuspecting victims give away their social security number and other information.
It takes the utility companies days to realize there's no money in the fake account, and victims are left with bounced checks, late fees and other penalties.
The FBI is investigating who is behind the utility bill scam. Until then, they're warning people there is no program to help people pay their bills.