A new scam has emerged where con artists reach out to SDG&E customers via email and cell phone to threaten service shutoff if they don’t make immediate payments using cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin.
In this scam, the con artist calls the victim on the phone and then emails him an online payment method, which features SDG&E’s logo and a QR code (akin to a bar code). When you scan the code with a QR code reader, it takes you to a specific web page to make payment with prepaid debit cards. The customer is directed to buy Bitcoin with GreenDot prepaid debit cards, and then enter the card numbers on the payment web page.
Criminals impersonating SDG&E work year-round to come up with new ways to defraud people. Follow these tips to avoid being scammed:
If you receive a phone call or email from a person claiming to work for SDG&E and the person threatens drastic action, such as power shut-off, and asks for immediate payment over the phone or payment in the form of crytocurrency, it is a scam.
SDG&E does not accept Bitcoin or other types of virtual money as payment. We will never proactively contact customers for credit card information. Customers should not be afraid to call SDG&E if they have an outstanding balance. Customer service agents work with customers to arrange for a payment plan or other payment process.
Even if you have a past-due balance that needs to be paid, remember we will always provide past-due notices in writing before shutting off service.
One of the especially convincing techniques that con artists use is known as caller ID spoofing. This technique involves the caller disguising his real identify by deliberately falsifying the information being transmitted to your caller ID. Usually, the caller alters the caller ID information to make it look like someone legitimate is calling. For example, in the case of utility scams, the criminals would make it look like SDG&E is calling.
If you are suspicious or made uncomfortable by anyone claiming to be with SDG&E, hang up and call our main customer service line at 1-800-411-7343.
Ask for Company ID
From time to time, we hear about people dressed in what appears to be an SDG&E or service uniform, visiting our customers’ businesses and homes. The fake employees tell the customer they need to perform a routine inspection. Then one of the imposters distracts the customer while the other steals cash and other valuables.
Next time someone claiming to work for SDG&E seeks to enter your home or business, check to make sure that person is wearing a real SDG&E uniform and ask to see the company identification card. Look to ensure that person arrived in a SDG&E-marked company vehicle.
If you are still suspicious, please call SDG&E at 1-800-411-7343.
Don’t be the Next Victim
Arm yourself with information by visiting sdge.com/avoid-scams so you don’t become the next victim. If you have any question as to the authenticity of a caller or an email, trust your instinct. Hang up and call our main customer service line at 1-800-411-7343.