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PG&E urges customers to protect themselves against scammers

PG&E
Posted at 5:55 PM, Nov 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-16 20:55:10-05

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — Every day, electric and natural gas customers throughout the country are being targeted by utility scams.

Customers are typically targeted online, by phone, and in person.

PG&E is taking a stand against scammers by joining its fellow electric, natural gas, water utilities and Utilities United Against Scams in helping customers recognize potential bad actors during Utility Scam Awareness Week from November 16-23.

"Scammers are constantly changing their tactics and tricks, so awareness is more important than ever to keep our customers safe," said Laurie Giammona, PG&E's chief customer officer. "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. And, as a reminder, PG&E will never ask for your financial information over the phone or via email."

As a reminder, 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.

"It is no surprise that scammers have been trying to take advantage of the anxiety of people coping with the pandemic," said UUAS Founder and Executive Committee Chairman Jared Lawrence. "I am proud to report that UUAS' education efforts and utilities' well-publicized practices have prevented a large increase in victims. However, the continuing attempts by these criminals make it clear that we must continue to work to protect our customers."

Scammers can be convincing and often target those who are most vulnerable, including senior citizens and low-income communities.

How to protect yourself:

  • 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, they can sign up for recurring payments, paperless billing, and helpful alerts.

For more information about scams, visit www.pge.com and www.utilitiesunited.org.