There is a new wave of scammers targeting elderly SDG&E customers, using a common tactic known as caller ID spoofing. Scammers disguise their real identity by cloning SDG&E’s 1-800 number so it displays on the victim’s caller ID.
Scammers typically threaten to turn off power unless the victim makes an immediate payment for a past due bill. You should know that SDG&E will never proactively contact customers to get their credit card, banking or other financial information over the phone, and demand immediate payment.
Even if you have a past-due balance that needs to be paid, we will always provide past-due notices in writing before shutting off service. And we work with customers on payment plans to help them catch up with past due balances.
If you are a caretaker for an older adult, have elderly relatives or friends, please warn them about utility scams and urge them to follow the tips below to avoid becoming a victim.
How You Can Protect Yourself from Caller ID Spoofing
If you receive a phone call from a person claiming to work for SDG&E and the caller asks for immediate payment over the phone, it is a scam. Hang up the phone. Here are a few additional tips to consider:
- Never provide financial information by telephone unless you made the call.
- Contact SDG&E directly at 1-800-411-7343 if you have any questions about resolving an outstanding balance or if you are the slightest bit suspicious about a call from someone claiming to be from SDG&E.
- Use our convenient online tools to manage your account, including checking the status of your bill or making a payment.
Imposters at Your Door
Next time someone claiming to work for SDG&E seeks to enter your home or business, check to make sure they are wearing a real SDG&E uniform and ask them to show you their company identification card. Look to ensure that they arrived in a SDG&E-marked company vehicle. If you are still suspicious, please call SDG&E at 1-800-411-7343.
Scams Involving CryptoCurrencies and Prepaid cards
Some scammers have reached out to our 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 work year-round to come up with new ways to defraud people. Arm yourself with information by visiting sdge.com/avoid-scams.
Another good resource is the Federal Communications Commission’s guide to help consumers avoid falling victim to phone ID spoofing: https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/spoofing-and-caller-id