BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Officials with PG&E say utility scams are on the rise and over 600 scam attempts have been reported in Bakersfield in 2023.
Officials say the number of reported scams has nearly tripled in the first seven months of 2023 compared to 2022.
The scam includes someone claiming to be from PG&E and targeting utility customers. The suspected scammer typically threatens disconnection if immediate payment is not made from a pre-paid debit card.
Officials say PG&E never sends a notification to a customer within an hour of service interruption or payment through a third party.
In a news release Matt Foley, lead customer scam investigator for PG&E said:
Scammers are constantly changing their tactics and tricks, so awareness and reporting are more important than ever to keeping our customers safe. If an email, visit to your home or phone call doesn’t feel right, don’t fall for it. Delete it, shut the door or hang up. 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.Matt Foley
PG&E says signs of a potential scammer are:
Threat to disconnect: Scammers can aggressively demand immediate payment.
Request for immediate payment: Scammers may instruct the customer to purchase a prepaid card and call them back for payment.
Refund or Rebate offers: Scammers may say the company owes you a refund.
Customers can protect themselves from scammers by never purchasing a prepaid card to avoid service interruption, PG&E offers a variety of ways to pay.
If a scammer threatens immediate service shutoff, you should hang up the phone, delete the email or shut the door, PG&E gives customers advance notification and it is typically by mail.