The Source for California Crime News|Tuesday, October 21, 2014
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Beware of Southern California Edison Scam 

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REDLANDS – A scam that targets small to medium size businesses has likely netted scammers over $200,000 in untraceable pre-paid debit cards.

The scam has stretched to various Southern California outlets, most businesses being duped into believing that a Southern California Edison representative will cut off electrical services unless a quick payment is made to purchase a new meter.
The scam, according to reports, usually starts with telephone calls from an 800 number and concluding with a payment from untraceable pre-paid debit cards.

The method of operation is that a self-described customer-service representative, usually calling restaurants right before a lunchtime rush, advises the business that electrical services will be cut if money was not quickly produced to pay for meter replacements. Response from the owners were usually quick, in order to stem off the likelihood of losing too much business.

Business owners should be wary of anyone requesting payment with a pre-paid debit card. The advice is to request a callback number, then call the business directly. If someone comes into the business, request identification. A pre-paid debit card, which are cash-only cards that are available at grocery stores and pharmacies, are procured to make payments to the scammers. Officials said the payments are untraceable.

Once the money has been put on the card, said officials, the alleged power company representative – in this case, Southern California Edison – requests a PIN number which leads to the transfer of funds onto his own debit card.
Southern California Edison officials know of at least 300 victims over the past year, most appearing to be businesses. An Edison official says they would never threaten customers with service disconnections.

Read More:

FoxLA: So Cal Edison warns customers of phone scam

LADailyNews: Southern California Edison alerts customers to rash of phone scams

About the author: Lee Brown

Obrey "Lee" Brown has worked for 10 newspapers and magazines in the Bay Area, central and southern California. In 2005, he wrote "A Citrus Test: Football in Black & White." He can be reached at baseballOLB@hotmail.com.

One Response to Beware of Southern California Edison Scam

  1. Lorena

    My mother was a victim of this crime today. I came home and she had just returned from buying a pre-paid card. She was still on the phone with the alleged Edison representative who had told her she needed to pay $218 for the cost of a new meter or her service would be turned off immediately. She panicked, bought the card and gave them the pin. It sounded fishy to me, so I called Edison and they told me it was a scam. I got the phone from my mom and told the man on the other line to return the money to the card and that I knew this was a scam. He denied it over and over and I told him I was calling the police. He hung up after this! The number that showed up on the caller id was a bogus blocked number. My mother is disabled and lives on her social security. She cares for my elderly grandmother. For her $200 is 1/4 of her monthly income and now some jerk has her money and there’s nothing we can do. So upseting!!!!!

     

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