Thousands of Americans have fallen victim to a fast-moving scam that claims to be part of an Obama administration program to help pay utility bills in the midst of a scorching summer.
The scheme spread quickly across the nation in recent weeks with help from victims who unwittingly shared it on social media sites before realizing they had been conned out of personal information such as Social Security, credit card and checking account numbers.
People from all corners of the country report being duped, from New Jersey to California, Wisconsin to Florida and all parts in between.
The scam benefits from being cleverly executed and coming at a time when air conditioners in much of the country are running around the clock to tame record-high temperatures.
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