Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) is urging customers to be vigilant of potential utility scams and to know what steps they can take to keep from becoming a victim.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, PG&E said, scammers have become increasingly deceptive and have increased calls, texts, emails, and in-person tactics. Many are contacting gas and electric customers asking for immediate payment to avoid service disconnection.
PG&E said it has received reports of more than 2,700 attempted scams since June, with the highest number coming from San Francisco, Santa Rosa, Bakersfield, and Fresno.
Many of those scams target senior citizens, customers with limited English proficiency, and small business owners during their busiest hours, along with low-income communities, according to PG&E.
“While scammers will frequently target more vulnerable populations, we want to remind all of our customers of the importance of being vigilant, and to provide our customers with the information and tools they need to avoid being the victim of a payment scam,” said Matt Foley, PG&E senior corporate security specialist.
Foley said the PG&E never asks for customers’ financial information over the phone or via email. Nor does the company ever contact a customer for the first time within an hour of disconnection, and never asks customers to make payments with a pre-paid debit card, gift card, any form of cryptocurrency, or third-party digital payment mobile applications.
Any PG&E customers who believes they have been contacted by a scammer should call the PG&E customer service line, 800-743-5000. For more information, go to www.PGE.com.