It’s hard to feel too sorry for the victims of this scam…after all, they were trying to steal from the federal government.
Who Is It Targeting: Consumers
What Is It: A scam that steals your money in exchange for bogus “pay your bills for free” information
What Are They After: In this scam, a criminal reaches out to an unsuspecting victim with enticing information: for a small fee, they’ll provide the tools you need to pay your bills online using Federal Reserve routing numbers. In case you’re not sure what that would involve, it would mean having the money withdrawn from an account at the Federal Reserve instead of your own bank account. More precisely, it means stealing money from the Reserve and using it to cover your bills.
Of course, in order for this information to work, you must first pay the scammers for the routing numbers and provide your Social Security number. You’re handing over your money and your identifying information, only to be given internal routing numbers that don’t actually help you steal from the government. Even worse, since your bills don’t actually get paid with the internal routing numbers from the Fed, you will be assessed late fees and penalties by the entities that never received your payment.
How Can You Avoid It:
- It would be cruel to say that the victims of this scam got what they deserved, but crime doesn’t pay.
- Remember, there is no such thing as free money and no one else should have to pay your bills.
If you think you may be a victim of identity theft, contact the Identity Theft Resource Center for toll-free, no-cost assistance at (888) 400-5530.