Southern California Edison is warning it's customers to beware of scammers. Since the beginning of the year the big utility company has gotten over 2000 complaints about scam calls. 300 of those were from people and businesses who actually paid the crooks big bucks.
Edison says in Rialto a businessman paid the phone-thugs $4000. In Torrance at the Pit Stop restaurant Sam Kalogeropoulos paid $1300. Here's what happened to him. At about 1pm 3 weeks ago Sam says he got a call that his bill was late and he had to pay the money immediately or have his power turned off. Sam, who has owned the restaurant for about a year and a half, didn't want that to happen. He went to a pharmacy down the street, got a Moneygram card, called the bad guys and gave them the card number.
The following Saturday he got a letter from Southern California Edison saying he had not made his monthly payment yet. He talked to customer service and explained what had happened and realized he had been taken.
Problem is when you're ripped off like that you still have to pay your bill. He feels lousy. He says it's a worst decision he's ever made, but he did it because he cares about his business. That's what scammers count on.
Since the first of the year:
More than 2000 customers have called Edison to complain about scam calls
More than 300 customers have actually paid them money
Of those 90% are business customers 10% residential customers
So far total losses for Southern California Edison customers is estimated to be $225,000.
To fight back, starting today, Edison is putting out ads in about 30 small newspapers with "consumer beware" messages and tips. They've just added anti-scam tips on their website www.sce.com.
Bottom line, says Marlyn Denter with Southern California Edison, "if you think you're talking to a scammer… HANG UP and call Edison."
IF YOU THINK YOU'RE TALKING TO A SCAMMER – HANG UP!!!