E. Texas elderly battling heat from all angles

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - When Reagan Grisby couldn't pay her high utility bill she got help from the Greater East Texas Community Action program. She's now close to becoming self sufficient.

"I really appreciate it," Grigsby said. "That was a blessing."

Energy Assistance Coordinator Beverly Jones fills the needs of hundreds of qualified applicants from a 12 county region. Understandably, warnings of identity theft scammers pretending to be a federal financial assistance program doesn't sit well with the service provider.

"Where they call and tell them there's a bill payment out there that Obama administration has issued monies for," Jones said. "There's no such project out there."

Fortunately Jones hasn't received any complaints about the lies. She believes more clients know how to protect themselves from being gouged.

"Don't give out your social security number," Jones said. "Don't give out your bank routing number. Don't give out any personal information to anyone at all."

The advice is for clients such as Peggy Washington. She's  legally blind. That alone makes her a target for phone scammers.  she also watches her utility bills closely. The former nurse, now taking online instruction to become a health administrator, knows the right ways to manage utility bills.

"Keep my blinds and curtains closed," Washington said. "Change my filters out on my unit once a month. To have it serviced yearly."

Anyone not sure about how to manage their bills or is suspicious of any utility bill solicitation should call Greater East Texas Community Action Program. Clients speak from experience about its credibility.

"Got me back to ground zero," Grigsby said. "I'm back on my feet. It was a blessing to receive the assistance from Community Action."

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