Despite a text message claiming otherwise, President Barack Obama is definitely not paying your cellphone bill.
Scammers have been spreading text messages promising that the president will cover your bill in full, and all you have to do to take advantage of this amazing deal is to send your account number to a bank account number included in the text.
A SecurityNewsDaily employee received the text, which listed the account number as 211770145, and included a routing number, 211211, as well.
It seems simple enough, right? But then, as with all clever phone and email scams, the trouble slowly creeps in. After initially seeing their account balance drop to zero, those who send their cellphone account to "Obama" receive a returned payment message the next day, plus a $35 bounced check fee. And in most cases, the phone scam asks you for your Social Security number, something you should be incredibly skeptical about giving out.
A blog post on Caribwall gets at the heart of this scam, and tells why you should immediately recognize it as a hoax. "If Obama really decided to do this pay [your] cellphone [thing], don't you think it [would've] been on every TV station, newspaper, radio station, McDonald's menu … instead NOOOOOOO, people found out by BBM [BlackBerry Message] blast and text message. Forget the fact that the U.S. is in a $15.7 trillion deficit. Obama gonna waste the country's money because [you don't] know how to stay off [your] phone or pay [your] blasted bill on time?"
The cellphone scam has its roots in the rumors circulating about a so-called "Obama Phone," a program in which, the rumors and right-wing blogs claim, Obama is distributing new cellphones and prepaid minutes to welfare recipients. According to FactCheck, the federal government offers no such program, and, although low-income households have long been eligible for discounted phone service, it is funded by telecommunications companies, not taxes, "and the president has nothing to do with it."
But it's not just your phone bill Obama will supposedly take care of. A similar scam began spreading early this month, telling victims — via text and Twitter — that Obama would pay their utility bills, the Wall Street Journal reported.
So here's some advice: If you receive an unsolicited text message asking for any personal or financial information, or making any ludicrous promises, ignore it. No matter how high your cellphone bill is, the only way that balance is going to get to zero is if you pay it.