Scammers are calling homeowners, pretending to be SoCalEdison employees and demanding you pay a "past-due" bill immediately or they'll cut power, and people have already been scammed out of thousands.
It starts with a phone call. It’s all bogus.
"Utilities such as ours are highly regulated. If we were to engage in that behavior, regulators would punish us severely," Ron Gales of SoCalEdison said.
But while this kind of trick has been pulled on consumers before, these scammers are getting much better at making it look legit.
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Southern California Edison says they spoof the company’s phone number and even put customers on hold. They especially like to target small businesses who can’t operate without power.
Customers are falling for it big time. So far this year, SoCalEdison says customers have lost nearly $600,000.
The company says the scammers get really aggressive in November and December, when they hope to catch you off-guard.
"During the holiday season, there are a lot of demands on people’s attention. They’re preparing for family gatherings, they’re buying gifts, some of them are planning for trips or holiday time off," Gales said.
So if you get a call from SoCalEdison - or any utility company - and you’re not sure it’s legit, hang up and call the company back using the number on your bill.
And finally, a utility will never ask for payment through a cash app or gift cards.
One final warning: Scammers are also telling SoCalEdison customers that they’re calling on behalf of a "COVID relief fund," and that if you pay them half the balance of your bill, they’ll pay the other half. But it’s all a scam, so don’t turn over any money.