Phone scammers pretending to be from SDG&E at it again

Scammers call same victim from months earlier

SAN DIEGO - A local restaurant owner contacted 10News after a man pretending to be from San Diego Gas & Electric demanded $750.

Hudi Eshel knows this because the caller scammed him months earlier. Eshel, who owns the Embargo Grill in Point Loma, was duped out of nearly $1,000 in January.

"You are behind on your electricity bill and you owe us money and you need to pay," Eshel said, referring to the phone call he says he received.

Eshel says his cellphone read that he was called by SDG&E, so he had no reason to think it was not the utility company.

"I feel stupid," he added. "They said, 'If you don't pay us right now we're going to come and turn off your electricity and turn off your gas.'"

He then bought two Green Dot MoneyPaks with cash and gave the serial numbers on the back of the cards to the man over the phone. In mere moments, he had been scammed. The money was gone.

Two weeks ago, he began to get the phone calls again. But this time, he knew better.

"I said, 'Really? I'm so sorry,'" he said and led the scammer to believe his scam was working again.

This time around, instead of buying more MoneyPaks, he saved the phone numbers and called 10News.

Together, 10News and Eshel attempted to call the three numbers back to let them know the call was going to be recorded. But all we got were two disconnected recordings and a recorded message about calling the "disconnection" department.

In past stories, SDG&E has told 10News they do not proactively contact customers to ask for credit card information over the phone. They also said they are working with law enforcement and are offering its customers tips to prevent future phone scam victims.

Eshel says he learned from his mistake and wants to warn others that the calls are still being made.

"I'm going to get these people. Someone needs to get them," he said, adding that he hopes it is soon.

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