SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Customers are being warned of a scam in which people are pretending to represent San Diego Gas & Electric and using new tricks to get money.
The latest scheme mimics the utility's phone menu -- from pressing 1 to report an emergency, to 3 to pay your bill.
Pacific Beach business owner Rudy Pacheco sniffed out the scam when a man called him pretending to be from SDG&E. The caller said Pacheco's power would be turned off if he didn't pay $710 immediately.
"I started arguing with the guy because my wife pays bills religiously," Pacheco said.
Pacheco eventually got transferred to the "supervisor," whose efforts to get him to pay up were also unsuccessful. The scammer ended up hanging up, but not before Pacheco wrote down their number.
He called it back and got the fake SDG&E phone menu. The giveaway is that it goes to what sounds like an individual voicemail.
Pacheco then called the real SDG&E line, and a representative told him that his account was current.
An SDG&E spokeswoman said the company's fraud unit now has scammers' phone number. She said the utility will never call to demand money from a customer and people should only pay by phone if they initiated the call. She added that the utility will always notify non-paying customers of a power turn-off in writing.
The correct customer help line for SDG&E is 800-411-7343.