San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) is warning customers of utility scammers. Since the start of the pandemic, California utilities say reported incidents have increased.
SDG&E has received 806 reports of scams from its customers in the past two years with estimated losses totaling $513,100.
“It’s really heartbreaking when you hear these stories of people being scammed out of their hard-earned money, hundreds of dollars at a time, sometimes,” SDG&E spokeswoman Helen Gao told the San Diego Union-Tribune.
These are the most common utility scams SDG&E is warning customers about:
- "Impostors threatening immediate disconnections of electric or gas services for past-due bills unless customers pay immediately"
- "Scammers demanding customers give them their financial information over the phone"
- "Insisting on payment with prepaid cards (such as Green Dot MoneyPak), payment apps like Venmo or Zelle or paying with cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin."
Utility officials say they do not use these payment methods and they "will never contact customers to tell them they must pay now or risk immediate disconnection.”