Utility scams have existed for decades, but the COVID-19 pandemic created widespread opportunities for con artists posing as utility representatives to target customers. This year alone, customers report being victimized for nearly $300,000 by these scams.
Here are a couple of examples:
COVID-19 Relief Scam: This new scam involves impostors passing out postcards with unauthorized use of SCE and CPUC logos about a so-called COVID-19 relief program. The postcard tries to bait customers into setting up an in-person meeting with a “representative” to discuss their eligibility for six months of relief on their SCE bills. At this meeting, the impostor asks for the customer’s SCE information, going through a year of utility statements before asking for a copy of their credit report. Please disregard this postcard if you receive it and do not call the number listed to schedule a meeting.
Phone Bill Scam: This scam involves impostors calling customers from a spoofed SCE number to appear legitimate. Most recently, impostors spoofed our media hotline number (626-302-2255) and threatened customers with service disconnections if they did not pay their bill on the spot. If you receive such a call, please hang up and call the number listed on your SCE bill to confirm and report the incident.
We want customers to know that SCE will never demand immediate payment with the threat of disconnection and will never ask for your personal or financial information in person or over the phone. Additionally, we implemented several customer protections to support you through these uncertain times at the start of the pandemic, including suspending disconnections for residential and small businesses and providing financial and other assistance programs.
If you suspect that you are a target for a scam, including any COVID-19-related postcards, emails or calls from people claiming to be with SCE, please dial the number listed on your SCE bill, SCE’s customer service center at 1-800-655-4555 or visit sce.com/scamalert.
This article was released by Southern California Edison.