O7/16/12  Spurred by customer reports, NIPSCO and utility companies nationwide are warning residents about a credit scam in which victims are asked to provide personal information in exchange for energy bill credits from the government. Reports from NIPSCO customers impacted by the scam began late last week. To date, NIPSCO has documented nearly a dozen incidences.

The scammers ask for personal information, such as a Social Security number, then give victims fraudulent bank routing number to pay their utility companies.

Nationwide, most of the exploited customers were contacted by phone, but some have been approached via social media and word of mouth.

Utility companies are working with law enforcement to bring an end to the scam.

Helpful Reminders to Keep Customers Safe from Identity Theft

In an effort to keep customers safe from scams, NIPSCO reminds customers:

• Never give personal information, including Social Security numbers and banking information, to unconfirmed sources. NIPSCO only asks for a Social Security number when a customer is applying for new service.

• If you are unsure about the legitimacy of any programs or offers claiming to be affiliated with NIPSCO, please call our 24-Hour Customer Service Center at 1-800-4NIPSCO (1-800-464-7726).

• Legitimate bill assistance programs are available to qualifying customers. For more information on these offerings, visit NIPSCO.com/PaymentAssistance.