NBC 7 Responds

Utility Scams Cost San Diegans Hundreds of Thousands. Here's What to Watch Out For

NBC 7 Responds looked at a popular scam that has cost San Diegans hundreds of thousands of dollars

NBC Universal, Inc.

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.

“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.

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