Long Beach residents paid thousands to scammers posing as Edison employees this year, company says

Long Beach residents paid nearly $12,000 through the first half of the year to scammers pretending to be employees at Southern California Edison, and officials are warning customers that they could face an increase in phone scams starting this month as the company ends its moratorium on disconnections for nonpayment.

Through July, Southern California Edison recorded 170 scams targeting Long Beach customers, the most out of any city covered by the electric company, according to data provided by Edison. Out of the 170 scams, 15 resulted in a scammer receiving money from a Long Beach resident, totaling $11,758.44.

San Fernando tops the list of money paid to scammers, after a scammer successfully received $18,000 from an Edison customer, according to the data. Los Angeles is ranked No. 8 after five customers were scammed out of a total of $6,365.48.

To help customers during the pandemic, Edison suspended service disconnections for nonpayment and waived late fees for residential and small business customers.

But last month, Edison ended the moratorium, and officials are warning that scammers may be looking to take advantage of customers who may be impacted by past-due account balance and other collection activities.

According to Edison, customers should be wary of calls asking for immediate payment or threatening disconnection. The electricity company will also never ask for credit card information or for payments through mobile cash apps such as Zelle.

Edison asks any customer who suspects they’re being targeted by a utility bill scam to confirm their payment status and report the scam attempt by calling SCE’s business customer support line at 1-800-990-7788, or emailing [email protected].

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Fernando Haro is the Long Beach Post's breaking news and public safety reporter.
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