PG&E is Seeing an Increase in the Number of Scams Targeting Customers by Phone

Press Release

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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (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. There have been an increase in the number of scam attempts across the Bay Area – including the East Bay – with more than double the number of scam attempts in the North Bay, compared to this time last year.

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 with a cash card.

“In the past, we’ve seen scammers demanding payment be made using a Green Dot card or Money Pack but now we’re seeing these criminals requesting payment with a gift card. This should raise a red flag,” said Kevin Cashman, PG&E Security Investigator for the North Bay and North Coast.

Another new trend that PG&E is seeing is that the scam is becoming more detailed. Scammers include specific names of customers, and in some cases, guessing general dollar amounts owed. They are also disguising their true phone numbers with a caller ID that says “PG&E” or “Pacific Gas & Electric”.

Other scam phone call tactics include:

  • Notifying residents that 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 their home.

PG&E offers the following tips to help protect customers from all types of potential scams:

  • PG&E 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.
  • 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 you feel threatened in any way, notify local law enforcement immediately.

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 or visit www.pge.com/scams.

5 COMMENTS

  1. I’ve had quite a few of such calls … PG&E, IRS, SS .. I always respond and keep them on the line as long as I can. Ask them just where do I get these gift cards they ask for. Have them go through an entire spiel and then make them repeat it. Sometime, they get their “supervisor” if I pretend I don’t speak English very well. It’s fun to tell them, “Well, you called my number now whom are you trying to reach?” They really get mad when I tell them I don’t have PG&E and use candles to light my house or battery lights and I do my cooking on the BBQ or hibachi. If I keep them on the phone for a long time, that prevents them from calling other people to push their scams.

  2. I laughed soo hard at OTTO’s comment ! Omg 😂😂 I cant just hear you telling them you only use candles! Thanks for the laugh!

    These guys are soo good though, they almost got me until they said they needed a money gram ! Lol silly old scammers

  3. Can’t believe that scams like this find people gullible enough to fall for them, but evidently they do. Asking for a Green Dot card or similar is a dead giveaway.

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