With Utility Scams on the Rise In 2022, PG&E Shares Tips on How Customers Can Protect Themselves
“Protecting yourself from falling victim to a scam is as simple as hanging up the phone. If you receive a call from someone claiming to represent
Scammers are opportunistic and look for times when customers may be distracted or stressed, as has been the case during the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, scammers have increased calls, texts, emails and in-person tactics, and they are constantly contacting utility customers asking for immediate payment to avoid service disconnection. As a reminder,
Scammers can be convincing and often target those who are most vulnerable, including senior citizens and low-income communities. They also aim their scams at small business owners during busy customer service hours. However, customers can learn to detect and report these predatory scams.
Signs of a potential scam
- Threat to disconnect: Scammers may aggressively demand immediate payment for an alleged past-due bill.
- Request for immediate payment: Scammers may instruct the customer to purchase a prepaid card and then call them back supposedly to make a bill payment.
- Request for prepaid card: When the customer calls back, the caller asks the customer for the prepaid card’s number, which grants the scammer instant access to the card’s funds.
- Refund or rebate offers: Scammers may say that the customer’s utility company overbilled and owes a refund or rebate.
How customers can protect themselves
Customers should never purchase a prepaid card to avoid service disconnection or shutoff.
If a scammer threatens immediate disconnection or shutoff of service without prior notification, customers should hang up the phone, delete the email, or shut the door. Customers with delinquent accounts receive an advance disconnection notification, typically by mail and included with their regular monthly bill.
Signing up for an online account at pge.com is another safeguard. Not only can customers log in to check their balance and payment history, but they also can sign up for recurring payments, paperless billing and helpful alerts.
Scammers impersonating trusted phone numbers
Scammers are now able to create authentic-looking 800 numbers which appear on phone displays. The numbers don’t lead back to
Customers who suspect that they have been victims of fraud, or who feel threatened during contact with one of these scammers, should contact local law enforcement.
For more information about scams, visit pge.com/scams.