Utility bill scam targets SCE customers

edison.jpgUtility Bill Scams Continue to Target Southern California Edison Customers (press release)

Bishop, California October 20th, 2014 – Southern California Edison (SCE) is advising customers to be aware of a telephone scam that demand immediate payment for allegedly past due electricity bills.

Imposters have been calling SCE customers telling them they must make immediate payment on past due bills or have their electric service disconnected. The callers are also demanding that payment be made through a prepaid cash card. Other forms of fraud involve customers being asked to purchase prepaid debit cards. Scammers ask for the debit card number and collect the value deposited on the card.

SCE customers have reported about 800 instances of phone scams last year. About 150 residential and commercial customers have been victimized by some form of bill scam with the incidents costing them an average of $800 to $1,000. In the recent past week SCE customers in Bishop and Mammoth have received telephone calls demanding immediate payment.

We ask our customers to be alert to these calls that demand immediate payment and threaten service disconnection. Customers suspecting a fraudulent call should ask for the caller’s name, department and business phone number. If the caller refuses to provide this information, customers should terminate the call and report the incident immediately to local police or SCE at 800-655-4555.

SCE reminds customers to ask for identification when a stranger comes to the door or calls claiming to be a utility worker. SCE utility workers will provide verification, including their department and phone number, when asked.

In most cases, home visits by SCE are scheduled by the customer and SCE will confirm the appointment in writing.  If there are any concerns, SCE and law enforcement officials suggest having the utility worker wait outside until their identity can be verified.

SCE customers should also note that:

An SCE employee will never ask for money in person

Never reveal your credit card, ATM or calling card numbers (or PIN numbers) to anyone

If someone calls and requests you leave your residence at a specific time for a utility-related cause, call the police. This could be a burglary attempt set up by the caller

Be suspicious of anyone who arrives at your house without an appointment asking to check an appliance, wiring or suggesting that there may be some other electrical problem inside or outside your residence

For more ways customers can stay safe, please see SCE.com/safety and read the safety tips section


3 Responses to Utility bill scam targets SCE customers

  1. Eastern Sierra Local October 22, 2014 at 9:52 am #

    Again, the obvious solution….don’t answer the phone…..caller ID is great! If a number shows up you don’t recognize let the voice mail take the call.

  2. Wayne Deja October 23, 2014 at 5:41 pm #

    Eastern Sierra Local…..What you say is true….Don’t answer the phone….On my days off, and if I’m home, I get at least 2 or 3 calls per day,that once my old fashion answering machine picks it up,stating to say who you are,and if I’m home,I’ll either pick up or call you back later if you leave a number to call,9 times out of 10,whoever is calling hangs up and doesn’t leave a message or say who they are…a scammer ?….who knows…

  3. Wayne Deja October 23, 2014 at 5:58 pm #

    ..And as I read on with the SCE advise,isn’t some of it just common sense ?…If I’m sitting home and watching the World Series and someone happened to call and told me to leave my house immediatly to go get a pre-paid card at the local mini-mart to pay a bill,there’s a good chance I’d tell them to go fly a kite.If I were out digging up weeds in my front yard and someone pulled up in a truck and wanted in my house to check on my appliances for a problem,there’s a good chance I’d tell them nope,not today….and most of the time I’m aware if I owe a bill,if I’d paid it,or if it were past due….and if was an over-sight of mine and not paid and over-due,I like to think I’d get a notice IN THE MAIL telling me so,with a stated shut-off date to pay it or else ..not a threat over the phone demanding a payment or they were going to shut it down in the next 5 minutes or so…..


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