BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Some are receiving phone calls or e-mails offering money from President Obama to pay your bills and stimulate the economy. But con artists are the only people getting stimulated by this scam.
Nicole, as we'll call this young Western New Yorker, thought she had heard it all.
"I get text messages all the time from Walmart or Best Buy [saying], 'Oh, you won a $1,000 gift card. Click here.' Which are all bogus," she said.
But this text came from a close friend and told her President Obama has a program to pay your bills - up to $1,000.
"But she heard it from her boyfriend, her boyfriend heard from his friend, his friend heard from his friend. So that is how it keeps going around," Nicole said.
So with all of her friends cashing in, Nicole followed the instructions in her text message. It gave her a bank routing number and told her to use the eight-digit code on the back of her Social Security card as her account number and started paying her bills, courtesy of the Commander-in-Chief.
"And I did it, and all my bills went through," Nicole said. "Two weeks later I was getting notifications in the mail, through text messages, e-mails, saying that my payment was not received for all my bills."
Nicole was scammed. She was also getting slapped with overdraft charges and she was in danger of having her identity stolen.
Peggy Penders of the Better Business Bureau said, "Absolutely leaves them wide open for identity theft. They are going to be responsible for those bills and possibly late fees and other charges when those payments bounce."
Penders said the Better Business Bureau has put out a national alert on this bill pay scam. It works because the routing number is actually assigned to a bank and initially those bills seem to be getting paid. But identity theft is a real concern.
"Social Security numbers, bank account numbers that are connected to real people become very valuable to the scammers out there," Penders said. "Your personal information and your Social Security number can be re-sold to somebody else."
Nicole did get a break from her creditors when they learned she was scammed. The Better Business Bureau also advised her to put a "fraud alert" on all her accounts as a hedge against identity theft.
Buffalo Police have arrested 26-year-old Nicholas Finnegan of South Buffalo and charged him with pushing Russ Ross to his death.
The Niagara County Sheriff's responded to Saunders Settlement Road near Comstock in Cambria Friday night after receiving a tip about a suspected meth lab.
Police say there were 32 burglaries, 20 in Albion, five in Medina, four in Oakfield and three in the City of Lockport.
Firefighters had to withdraw from a smoky fire in Blasdell at a multi-dwelling home on South Park Avenue Friday night because the flames were so intense.
Call 4 Action looked into claims this week that members of BJ's Wholesale Club were paying too much on sales tax on some deeply discounted items.
State Police in Pennsylvania are investigating an alleged pedophile pastor already facing charges in Western New York.