SAN FRANCISCO — Pacific Gas and Electric is hoping to warn its customers about telephone, mail, email and door-to-door/in-person scams. The scams involve criminals posing as utility company representatives and demanding immediate payment or personal information.
To boost its education efforts, Pacific Gas and Electric has joined “Utilities United Against Scams Day.” The effort is a week-long campaign which began Nov. 14 to expose tricks scammers use to steal from customers, and how customers can protect themselves.
To date, PG&E has received more than 2,400 scam reports some using increasingly sophisticated tactics to trick customers.
A few red flags include:
- A scammer tells the customer his or her account is past due and service will be disconnected if payment isn’t made through prepaid cash card – usually within an hour.
- Hang up on suspicious calls. Contact local police on their non-emergency number and then call PG&E.
- Never dial phone numbers scammers provide or assume caller ID is accurate. Scammers use sophisticated systems where they can mimic caller ID that appears to be PG&E’s number.
- An in-person scammer wears a hard hat, an orange vest and holds a clip board and asks to see your utility bill or to be let inside your home.
- Expect to receive an automated call from PG&E 48 hours before a scheduled visit. You may also receive a personal call from a PG&E gas service representative before a scheduled visit. You can also call PG&E to verify an appointment.
“The safety and security of our customers is the foundation of how we operate, so it’s heartbreaking when you hear about people being affected by these types of scams,” said PG&E Customer Care Vice President Deb Affonsa. “Awareness is a key part of stopping this type of crime and we are working hard to continue getting the word out to our customers.”
Customers who suspect or experience fraud, or feel threatened during contact with one of these scammers, should contact local authorities and then PG&E (800) 743-5000