San Diegans warned of scam targeting San Diego Gas & Electric customers

Business owners bilked out of hundreds of dollars

SAN DIEGO - Concern continues to grow over a telephone scam that has been targeting San Diego Gas & Electric customers.

Two more businesses contacted 10News this week after they said they were scammed Wednesday night.

The owner of one of the businesses -- a popular North County bakery -- was too embarrassed to appear on camera, but he spoke to 10News about the cash he lost Wednesday night what he said was a telephone scam.

"Ah, stupidity; I know better. I really know better," the bakery owner told 10News.

According to the bakery owner, someone pretending to be a utility employee threatened to turn off his electric and gas unless payment was made within the hour.

The owner said he was skeptical, so he called the SDG&E number on his bill.

"I tried to call SDG&E and of course all I got was 'push this button,' 'push this button,'" he added. "While I was trying to call SDG&E, this (other) number called me back."

The person on the other end of the phone was a scammer who instructed the bakery owner to buy a Greed Dot Money Pak -- a money card -- for $375.

"I had never heard of it and he said that SDG&E was partnering with them," the owner told 10News.

Also Wednesday night, a successful business owner in the South Bay told 10News she was scammed. The woman, who was too embarrassed to reveal her identity, said their initial target was her 82-year-old mother. She noted that the caller was a Spanish speaker.

"It was very concerning because my mother is not a young person. We take care of her," she told 10News from her home.

They purchased $600 in Green Dot Money Pak cards.

When she called SDG&E Thursday, their fears of a scam were confirmed.

"They told me that it was a total scam, that they were doing that to a lot of people," she added.

10News first reported about this scam last week, when the owner of Lighthouse Ice Cream and Yogurt in Ocean Beach was scammed out of more than $1,500 in the same manner.

10News contacted SDG&E, and they issued the following written statement:

"The company assures customers that SDG&E does not proactively contact them and ask for credit card information over the phone."

"It's just that I know better," said the bakery owner, who is now out of hundreds of dollars.

10News tried calling the scammer's phone numbers given to the two latest victims and heard the fake SDG&E recording.

When 10News called back, the person on the other line identified his business as "Bill's Pizza" and then laughed.

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