Utility scams are not new but in the last two years they have cost San Diegans at least a half-million dollars, according to San Diego Gas & Electric.
The utility says people will call and trick you into sending them money.
“These happen year-round," said Helen Gao with SDG&E. "The scammers call people up and threaten to disconnect their service immediately if they don't pay immediately.”
SDG&E says a lot of these calls and text messages are targeting the elderly and immigrant populations. The calls can also look very realistic.
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“They use something called ID spoofing," said Gao. "So when you see the number that shows up on your phone it looks like the SDG&E number.”
In the last two years, SDG&E says they have received more than 800 reports from customers who have lost money to this scam, totaling more than $500,000.
“A lot of people don't report so the actual number is much higher than that,” said Gao.
If you receive a call or text message saying you owe money to SDG&E, they say ignore it or hang up. Then reach out to the company directly by calling the number on your bill. If you are falling behind, SDG&E says there are ways they can help.
“We work with customers on payment plans," said Gao. "We also have other customer assistance programs.”
SDG&E says if your power is truly about to be cut off because of the lack of payments, you will receive multiple emails and notices mailed to your addresses on file.