SoCalGas and other natural gas and electric utilities across the United States are joining forces to protect their customers from fraud. The utilities have designated November 16, 2016 as "Utilities United Against Scams Day", which focuses on exposing the tricks criminals use to steal money from customers.
Keeping our customers and our communities safe is a core value at SoCalGas. To help you avoid being the victim of fraudulent activities, we've provided information on the most common scams targeting utility customers.
Scam Emails and Calls
Some of our customers report receiving suspicious emails that appear to be bills sent by another utility company. Similar email, telephone, mail, door-to-door, and other in-person scams that involve criminals posing as utility company representatives and demanding immediate payment or personal information have been happening recently throughout the country.
If you believe that you have been contacted by a criminal impersonating an electric, natural gas, or water company representative:
Hang up the phone, or close the door, and call your utility company.
Do not give the caller or visitor a prepaid card, such as a Green Dot card, a wire transfer, or any other form of payment that may be difficult for law enforcement officials to trace.
Ignore suspicious requests for personal information such as bank account numbers, user names and passwords, credit card numbers, or Social Security numbers.
Delete and block any emails from utilities that are not your service provider.
Delete all suspicious emails that require immediate action to verify or demand personal information.
Contact your local police through the non-emergency telephone number, your state attorney general’s office through its toll-free number, and/or contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC):
- 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357)
Pre-paid Cash Cards
This scam involves utility imposters telling customers that if they don't pay their energy bills immediately with pre-paid cash cards, their natural gas, electric or water service will be turned off.
The scam starts with a phone call telling you that you have to purchase a pre-paid cash card to pay your bill. Once the card is purchased, you're directed to another phone number where information is obtained from the card and the cash value is removed.
"Although there are no reports of SoCalGas® customers being a victim of this fraudulent activity, we want to alert our customers in an effort to prevent them from becoming potential victims," said Michael Schneider, vice president of customer operations at SoCalGas. "We advise customers to be alert and not to provide any type of financial information if they receive a call from a suspicious company.”
Recognizing Utility Impostors
We encourage you to be vigilant and question anyone who presents themselves as a representative of SoCalGas.
All SoCalGas employees on company business are required to carry a photo ID badge.
SoCalGas workers who perform in-home appliance services, work on gas meters or work on gas pipelines wear uniforms. However, some employees do not. Always ask for identification before letting someone inside your home.
The majority of our authorized employees will always be in a uniform with our company logo, carry an official employee badge, and drive a company car.
Most of the time we visit your home in response to a service request. If no one scheduled an appointment, call us before allowing anyone inside your home.
To verify the authenticity of anyone claiming to be a representative of SoCalGas, ask for proper identification or call headquarters at 1-800-427-2200 (or 1-800-342-4545 in Spanish).
Customer service representatives are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.