PG&E is warning that gas and electric customers are increasingly being targeted by scammers threatening to shut off service unless they are paid immediately.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, scammers have stepped up calls, texts, emails, and in-person tactics, PG&E said. There have been more than 2,700 scam attempts reported since June and San Francisco and Santa Rosa top the list of cities with the most reports.
An imposter will often demand immediate payment to avoid service disconnection, and they can be convincing, seeking out vulnerable people, such as senior citizens, those with limited English proficiency and low-income communities. Small business owners are often targeted during busy customer service hours, PG&E said.
PG&E will never contact a customer for the first time within one hour of a service disconnection, and will never ask customers to make payments with a pre-paid debit card, gift card, any form of cryptocurrency, or third-party digital payment mobile applications.
“Remember, PG&E will never ask for your financial information over the phone or via email. If you receive a call or email that demands immediate payment, please call our customer service line or visit PGE.com to access your account details,” said Matt Foley, PG&E senior corporate security specialist.
More information about scams is available online from PG&E and Utilities United Against Scams, a consumer safety group.