Southern California Edison Friday warned Southlanders about scammers who call utility customers and demand immediate payment for supposedly past due electricity bills and who threaten that service will be disconnected.
The callers have been demanding that payment be made through a prepaid cash card, such as a PayPal or Green Dot card, said SCE's Henry Martinez.
"We ask our customers to be alert to these calls that demand immediate payment and threaten service disconnection," Martinez said. "Customers suspecting a fraudulent call should ask for the caller's name, department and business phone number."
If the caller refuses to provide that information, customers should hang up and immediately report the interaction to local police or to SCE at (800) 655-4555, Martinez said.
SCE also reminded customers to ask for identification when a stranger comes to the door or calls claiming to be a utility worker. The utility's workers will provide verification, including their department and phone number, when asked, Martinez said.
In most cases, home visits by SCE are scheduled by the customer, and SCE will confirm the appointment in writing. Also, an SCE employee will never ask for money in person, Martinez said.
If there are any concerns, officials suggest having the utility worker wait outside until their identity can be verified.
-- Never reveal your credit card, ATM or calling card numbers, or PIN numbers.
-- If someone calls and requests that you leave your residence at a specific time for a utility-related cause, call police because this could be a burglary scheme.
-- Be suspicious of anyone who arrives at your house without an appointment asking to check an appliance or wiring, or suggesting that there may be some other electrical problem inside your residence
For more ways customers can stay safe, visit the website www.sce.com/safety and read the safety tips section.