Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Scam alert: Scammers pose as PG&E workers

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – Community members are urged to be on guard against a recent scam targeting local residents in which the scammers claimed to be acting on behalf of Pacific Gas and Electric.
A Clearlake resident reported to Lake County News that he almost became the victim of a telephone scam this past week by someone claiming to represent PG&E and demanding a $1,000 security deposit on his account for supposed late payments.

He called it a “very professional operation” that began with an initial call coming from someone claiming to be a "technician" who threatened to cut off his power in 45 minutes unless he made a call to 1-800-616-9613.

The resident then made that call and spoke to someone who identified herself as “Amy,” who told him to go to Rite Aid and buy a pair of $500 prepaid credit cards and call her back with the security numbers on the back; if he did that, his power would not be disconnected.

The man who received the call said he actually had set off to buy the card when it occurred to him that something wasn’t right. So he stopped by the local PG&E office to check on his account, and was told there were no problems and he was current.

PG&E staff told him that others have called them about the same scam; when he called police, he was told they had received similar scam reports.

PG&E said scams targeting its customers have included telling customers they owe past-due balances or are eligible for a federal tax refund, trying to sell a service such as a solar evaluation, or claiming to represent a PG&E initiative so they can sell a product or gain entrance to your home.

The company said it never asks for financial information over the phone. False financial requests like this should be treated as scams. The PG&E Corporate Security Department and the authorities are investigating all reported scams.

If you have doubts about an incoming call from PG&E, hang up and call the PG&E Customer Service number: 1-800-743-5000.

The following are tips to help protect you from potential scams:
  • Safeguard your personal information and credit card numbers by avoiding giving the information out over the phone. If you gave someone your credit card or checking account information over the phone, report it to the credit card company or bank and law enforcement.
  • Beware of emails requesting your personal information. PG&E takes your security very seriously. We do not email anyone requesting that they provide personal information without first logging into your online PG&E account or calling the company.
  • Call PG&E at 1-800-743-5000 if you're concerned about the legitimacy of a call about a past due bill, service request or request for personal information.
  • Ask to see identification before letting anyone who claims to be a PG&E representative inside your home. PG&E employees always carry their identification and are always willing to show it to you.
  • Call the PG&E Customer Service line at 1-800-743-5000 if a person claiming to be an employee shows identification and you still feel uncomfortable. We will verify an appointment and/or the presence of PG&E in the community. If you still feel threatened, notify local law enforcement.
  • Expect to receive an automated call from PG&E 48 hours before a scheduled visit. You may also receive a personal call from a PG&E gas service representative before a scheduled visit.
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Rock of Faith Church Bible study
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July 2017
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