Each year, thousands of customers across America collectively lose millions of their hard-earned money to scammers claiming to be with local utility companies. That is why San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) this week is joining Utilities United Against Scams, a consortium of North American utilities to raise awareness of utility scams targeting customers.
While techniques used by cons to defraud customers can be convincing, there are some telltale ways to spot a scam and prevent a loss, including:
- Demand for immediate payment—SDG&E will never demand immediate payment—usually within the hour--or ask for personal information, such as bank account numbers, social security numbers, passwords or other sensitive information.
- Threat to disconnect service immediately— SDG&E will never shut-off service without proper advanced written notification. Customer service agents are trained to work with customers to arrange for payment plans or other processes to resolve outstanding balances. Customers can also enroll in My Account to instantly and securely verify account balances.
- Request to pay a bill with a prepaid card — SDG&E will never instruct customers to purchase a prepaid card – widely available at retail stores – and then request a call back with the prepaid card’s number to make a bill payment.
Spotting an imposter
In addition to scammers calling and emailing to harm unsuspecting consumers, imposters physically trying to enter homes is particularly troubling. Authenticating the identity of an SDG&E worker is extremely important, which is why the company wants to educate customers about the new uniforms being worn by gas and electric field crews. All new uniforms prominently display the SDG&E logo, and consist of long-sleeve button-down shirts, t-shirts and coveralls in greys, tans and blues, as well high-visibility pullovers in bright yellow and heavy-duty outerwear in brown and navy blue.
Customers that are suspicious or uncomfortable by anyone claiming to be with SDG&E are encouraged to call SDG&E’s main customer service line at 800-411-7343. The company works with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to identify and prosecute scammers. Further, SDG&E encourages anyone who has been victim to a scam to report any loss to local law enforcement.
SDG&E is an innovative San Diego-based energy company that provides safe, reliable, clean energy to better the lives of the people it serves in San Diego and southern Orange counties. More than 4,000 employees work to provide the cleanest, safest and most reliable energy in the West. The company was the first to meet California’s goal of delivering 33 percent of energy from renewable sources, has fueled the adoption of electric vehicles and energy efficiency through unique customer programs, and supports a number of non-profit partners. SDG&E is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego. For more information, visit SDGEnews.com or connect with SDG&E on Twitter (@SDGE), Instagram (@SDGE) and Facebook.