A Scam’s Telling Success

According to multiple news reports, tens of thousands of Americans have fallen for a scam that’s being dubbed the “Obama utility bill scam.” The victims are told that a new Obama stimulus program will pay their utility bills. Fraudsters use the hook to get people to divulge their Social Security number and other personal information.

The following anecdote from MSNBC shows why so many people are falling for it:

Caroline Morales of Bethlehem, Penn., told the Allentown Morning Call that she had been tempted by the scam. “My neighbor comes running with a paper that had a routing and account number,” she told the paper. “She said Obama was helping people pay their utility bills, mortgage and any bills you had.” While Morales had her doubts, she said her mom told her, “It’s probably true since he is looking for votes.”

A lot of Americans see the president as Santa Claus. Back in 2008, a woman who had just attended an Obama rally excitedly told a reporter that she wouldn’t have to worry about putting gas in her car and paying her mortgage. “If I help him, he’s going to help me,” she said. Then there’s the recent example of actress Amanda Bynes tweeting the president and asking him to “Please fire the cop who arrested me” for driving under the influence.

It’s easy to poke fun at these people, but the reality is that we live in a country where people expect the federal government (i.e., taxpayer) to pay for everything: housing, food, student loans, health care, and even their businesses. Therefore, it’s little wonder that a lot of people have trouble separating fact from fiction when it comes to federal handouts.