Fake Website Poses as Utility Setup Service

SCE warns: Scammers use false online presence to steal utility customers’ personal information and money.
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Stories : Safety

Fake Website Poses as Utility Setup Service

SCE warns: Scammers use false online presence to steal utility customers’ personal information and money.

Customers signing up for new electrical services to connect and power their homes may need to pay deposits and start-up fees as well as share personal and private data. This creates a perfect opportunity for scammers to take advantage and cash in.

A new scam using a fake utility website targeting customers searching on the internet about how to connect their new electricity service is on the rise.

While recently searching online for “new utility service,” a customer outside Southern California Edison’s service area discovered one such website. The fake site listed nine phone numbers, each one for a different utility.

Thanks to its efficiency and speed, online research has become the go-to method for information-seeking customers.

Scammers know this all too well.

“Use only trusted websites,” said Paige, an SCE information governance representative. “Everything people do online leaves a digital footprint. It is increasingly important for customers who enter information online to protect and handle their personal information carefully.”

A frustrated couple using a laptop to make an online transaction.
Scammers have shifted their targets to focus most often on SCE's residential customers.

Customers looking to activate services should look for sce.com in the URL portion of the webpage to ensure they are using the correct website.

It is also important to note SCE has a $5 one-time residential connection service charge ($29 for commercial customers) for new services that will appear on the customer’s first bill.

“SCE representatives cannot take a payment or collect customer credit or debit card information over the telephone,” Paige added. “That’s the only SCE fee to connect service.”

SCE reminds customers to remain vigilant because scammers continue to target utility customers, often posing as “collection” employees and threatening to disconnect electricity service unless a payment is made using a prepaid card or unapproved cash payment apps. SCE does not have a “disconnection department” and an SCE agent will not call you to demand payment over the phone.

Here’s a look at some alarming statistics about scams targeting utility customers last year:

2023 SCE Customer Scams Breakdown

  • In 2023, there were 3,030 SCE customer scam reports, resulting in $244,150 in losses.
  • SCE has discovered that scammers have shifted their targets from 50% residential and 50% commercial at the start of the pandemic to 75% residential and 25% commercial today.
  • For the past five years, SCE reports that the following Southern California cities have consistently been in the top 10 that scammers target: Long Beach, Inglewood, San Bernardino, Santa Ana, Los Angeles, Corona.

            If you think you have been scammed or spoofed, fill out SCE’s
            online fraud form, where you can report the details related to the scam. To get helpful tips and learn more about scam prevention, visit sce.com/scamalert.