SAN DIEGO – San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) recently issued a warning about a national scam that continues to target the company’s customers.
Known as the “Pay-by-Phone” scam, criminals typically threaten immediate power shut-offs to scare customers to make an immediate payment. The scammers then instruct customers to purchase prepaid debit cards, or wire transfers, and direct them to call another phone number to provide the card information, which allows the thieves to remove the cash value.
“To hear that people are losing thousands of dollars because they fear SDG&E is going to turn off their power is upsetting at any time, but particularly so during the holiday season,” said Scott Crider, vice president of customer services for SDG&E. “We want our customers to know about this scam and protect themselves and their families from becoming a victim. While anyone can be a target, we’ve seen higher instances of scammers targeting small businesses, the elderly and non-native English speakers.”
Customers should protect themselves with these tips:
- If payment to SDG&E is past-due, the company would notify the customer in writing before taking any action to disconnect service. Additionally, the company’s Energy Service Specialists are trained to work with customers to arrange for a payment plan or other payment process.
- Customers should never give anyone who calls and demands payment their credit card information over the phone. Instead, SDG&E recommends that customers should hang up and call SDG&E’s main customer service line at 1-800-411-SDGE.
- There are reports that the scammers are calling with information like addresses and phone numbers which can be obtained through simple internet searches, making it difficult to recognize a call as fake. Customers should protect their information by safely disposing of anything that may have an account number, balance, passwords or other financial information.
SDG&E encourages anyone who has been victim to this scam to report any loss of money to law enforcement agency. Additionally, SDG&E investigates any reported issues in an effort to help protect customers.