Utility 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