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Unknown Number - Photo courtesy of r.classen on Shutterstock

Authorities Tuesday warned Southlanders that scammers have been contacting utility customers and trying to defraud them.

“Utility scams occur when a scammer pretends to be a representative from your utility company and tricks you into sending money or revealing sensitive information,” according to a Southern California Edison statement.

“Of the SCE customers who have received scam calls this year, about 20% of them have paid out more than $18,000 after being told to either use Zelle or go to a convenience store to use bitcoin or a gift card,” SCE said.

“Because of the high volume of scammers using Zelle, Southern California Edison and other utilities have joined forces to educate customers on what a utility scam looks like,” SCE said.

The warning was issued during National Consumer Protection Week, March 5-11.

More information is available at www.vox.com/c/ad/22735196/zelle-pay-it-safe .

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