By BRANDI MERLO/Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is alerting customers to be aware of ongoing scam phone calls with criminals threatening to shut off power if a payment is not made.
PG&E’s Corporate Security department has received several reports in the past few weeks regarding scammers requesting payment on past due utility bills immediately using a Green Dot card or Money Pack.
Other scam phone calls have been reported to include customers being notified they are eligible for a federal tax refund related to their utility bill, trying to sell services related to solar evaluation and claiming to represent a PG&E initiative to sell a product in order to gain access to customers’ homes.
These most recent reports have come from the greater Bay Area but history indicates that scammers move throughout the state. The greater Sacramento area has experienced scam phone calls threatening suspension of electric service if a payment is not immediately received.
PG&E reminds customers that its representatives will always carry identification and will never ask for immediate payment with a prepaid cash card over the phone or in person.
PG&E offers the following tips to help protect customers from all types of potential scams:
- PG&E’s Credit Department will not ask for personal information or a credit card number over the phone. Anyone who has received such a phone call and provided credit card or checking account information should report it immediately to the credit card company or bank and law enforcement.
- Customers with concerns about the legitimacy of a call about a past due bill, service request or request for personal information are encouraged to call PG&E at 1-800-743-5000. Be aware that scammers can disguise their true phone numbers or simply claim to be from PG&E.
- Customers should always ask to see identification before allowing anyone claiming to be a PG&E representative inside their home. PG&E employees always carry their identification and are willing to show it to you.
- If a person claiming to be a PG&E employee has identification and you still feel uncomfortable, call PG&E’s customer service line at 1-800-743-5000 to verify an appointment and/or PG&E’s presence in the community. If you feel threatened in any way, notify local law enforcement immediately.
- Customers who have an appointment with PG&E will receive an automated call back within 48 hours prior to a scheduled visit, or a personal call from a PG&E gas service representative prior to a scheduled visit.
- PG&E takes security seriously and will actively work with law enforcement to help stop any scam victimizing customers. Anyone who has received such a call can report it immediately by calling PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.