SDG&E warns of phone imposters

Posted at 6:33 PM, Dec 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-16 21:33:46-05

People pretending to work for San Diego Gas & Electric are calling customers threatening to shut off electricity and gas service unless they pay up immediately.

This week, True Food Kitchen got that unwelcomed phone call.

"They said, 'You owe $987.57' and 'we have a disconnection notice,'" said executive chef Nathan Coulon. "'If you don't pay that we're going to come disconnect your utilities.'"

Coulon said there was an initial panic, but he couldn't believe they didn't pay the bill.

He told Team 10 he followed the instructions just to be safe, calling the supposed customer service line.

"They said, 'You bring cash and pay into the MoneyGram machine and you don't get disconnected,'" he said.

That set off an alarm, and Coulon didn't pay up.

Instead, he called the real customer service number on the SDG&E bill and then Team 10.

Team 10 tried to track down the person on the other end. When an investigator called, the automated recording sounded just like a customer service line, but no one picked up.

SDG&E confirms the number is a fake and does not belong to them.

Coulon caught it in time and avoided being taken advantage of. He's speaking out so no one gets put out.

"Make sure you call SDG&E from the number on your bill not the phone number they give you," he said.

SDG&E has tips on how to protect yourself.

If you suspect a caller of posing as an SDG&E employee, hang up and call SDG&E's main customer service line directly at 1-800-411-7343. You should also call SDG&E if you have any doubts about a visitor who shows up at your home or business, claiming to be a representative of SDG&E. Even if you have a past-due balance that needs to be paid, remember:

-- SDG&E always provides past-due notices in writing before service is shut off for nonpayment.
-- SDG&E does not proactively contact customers to get credit card, banking or other financial information over the phone.
-- You should never provide financial information by telephone unless you initiated the call.
-- You should contact SDG&E directly at 1-800-411-7343 if you have any questions about resolving an outstanding balance.