MADERA COUNTY — The Madera County Sheriff’s Office is warning residents that once again, the “pay up or we’ll shut off your electricity” PG&E scam is targeting power customers in the area.
In one such scam, PG&E customers have told the company that they are receiving calls that show PG&E’s caller ID (1-800-743-5000) on their phones. Customers are told they have a past-due balance owed or that they are eligible for a federal tax refund.
“PG&E is not making these calls,” warns the company. “PG&E will never ask for financial information from customers over the phone so customers should treat any request like this as a scam.”
If a customer ever doubts the validity of an incoming call from PG&E, they should hang up and call the company’s customer service number, 1-800-743-5000.
Some California customers have reported receiving calls warning that their electric service will be disconnected unless they make immediate payment through a prepaid cash card, such as a PayPal or Green Dot card. PG&E reminds customers that its representatives never ask for immediate payment with a prepaid cash card over the phone or in person.
PG&E has learned of an email and telephone scam targeting residents across the United States. The utility has received calls from people, both within its service area and outside of it, reporting that they have received suspicious emails that appeared to be bills sent by PG&E. This is similar to email and phone scams that have been happening recently throughout the country involving several utilities.
“It’s unacceptable that someone is trying to take advantage of our customers and others,” said Helen Burt, the utility’s chief customer officer and a senior vice president. “We take our customers’ security very seriously and under no circumstances would we email anyone to request that they provide personal information without first logging into My Energy or calling us.”
If a customer receives one of these emails requesting information about their account, they should delete and take the following precautions:
- Do not respond to request
- Do not click on any links in the email
- Do not open any attachments
- Do not provide any personal information
- Report these contacts to CorporateSecurity@pge.com
PG&E has investigated the situation and contacted the proper authorities. They say there has been no security breach and the information referenced in the email message is not legitimate. They offer the following tips to help protect customers from 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.
- 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.
To learn more about scams targeting PG&E customers, visit https://www.pge.com/en/myhome/alerts/scams.page?WT.ac=Home_Scams-Feb16