I got this from someone I work with, and want to get the word out. It has come to our attention that scammers committing a particularly painful form of identity theft appear to have hit on just the right formula to trick thousands of victims: a punishing heat wave, large utility bills, a bad economy and a good story. While the criminals may have not reached Colorado yet, they have been marching across the country, making their way from state to state, persuading victims that a special federal government assistance program -- sometimes described as a bailout authorized by President Barack Obama's administration -- is available to pay their utility bills. Victims are given bank account and routing numbers to use when paying their bills online, but only after they "register" by surrendering their Social Security numbers and other personal information. There is no such utility payment assistance program. But electricity users seem to be falling for the ruse everywhere, making it one of the more successful scams in recent times. Last week, 2,000 people were tricked in Tampa and there were more victims in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and across New England. Utility firms in Utah and California reported similar scam epidemics earlier this year. And at least 10,000 people fell for the scam in New Jersey in recent weeks.