Pacific Gas and Electric Company is warning customers of scams — new and old —that have swindled customers out of nearly $580,000 in the first seven months of 2023.
Customers have reported more than 29,000 scam attempts this year, an increase of nearly 200% from last year.
PG&E says that about 900 scam attempts have taken place in Fresno and Clovis.
“Scammers are constantly changing their tactics and tricks, so awareness and reporting are more important than ever,” said Matt Foley, lead customer scam investigator for PG&E.
One new trick from scammers is creating authentic-looking 800 numbers that do not lead back to PG&E if called.
PG&E warns that scammers targeting customers will typically threaten disconnection if immediate payment is not made, often for an alleged overdue bill. They commonly attempt to gain access to card information by requesting payments via a prepaid card or saying you are entitled to rebates.
The company wants customers to know that it never sends a notification to a customer within one hour of a service interruption. It also never will never ask customers to make payments.
PG&E Never Asks for Financial Info Via Phone or Email
“Remember, PG&E will never ask for your financial information over the phone or via email, nor will we request payment via pre-paid debit cards or third-party digital payment mobile application,” Foley said.
Scammers often target those who are most vulnerable, such as senior citizens and residents of low-income communities. They also focus on small business owners during busy customer service hours, PG&E says.
Customers can help protect themselves from these scams by never purchasing a prepaid card if told to, as PG&E does not specify how customers should make a bill payment. Also, you should immediately hang up if threatened with disconnection or shut off.
Report Scam Attempts to Police, PG&E
If you are concerned about payment, you can create an online account at pge.com to check your balance and payment history.
PG&E urges customers who suspect that they have been victims of fraud, or who feel threatened during contact with one of these scammers to contact local law enforcement and report their experience by visiting www.pge.com/scams or by calling 1-833-500-SCAM.