SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is standing with fellow
electric, natural gas, water utilities and our respective trade
associations in support of Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS). UUAS
is a consortium of more than 100 U.S. and Canadian utilities. UUAS will
observe the second annual Utility Scam Awareness Day, on Wednesday, Nov.
15, as part of a weeklong advocacy and awareness campaign, Nov. 13 – 17.
UUAS is focused on exposing the tactics scammers use to steal money from
utility customers and on educating customers on how to protect
“Awareness and reporting are keys to keeping customers safe from these
scammers,” said Deb Affonsa, vice president, Customer Care. “It’s
important that if customers get a call, a visit, or an email that just
doesn’t seem right – say something by letting PG&E and law enforcement
Electric and natural gas customers throughout the country are being
targeted by impostor utility scams each day. Scammers typically use
phone, in-person, and online tactics to target these customers. Scammers
pose as electric, water or natural gas company employees, and they
threaten that customers’ services will be disconnected or shut off if
they fail to make an immediate payment – typically using a prepaid card
or other non-traceable form of payment.
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, with the right information, customers can learn
to detect and report these predatory scams.
Signs of Potential Scam Activity:
Threat to disconnect: Scammers may aggressively tell the customer
his or her bill is past due and service will be disconnected if a
payment is not made – usually within less than an hour.
Request for immediate payment: Scammers may instruct the customer
to purchase a prepaid card then call them back supposedly to make a bill
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.
How Customers Can Protect Themselves: Customers should never
purchase a prepaid card to avoid service disconnection or shutoff. PG&E
does not specify how customers should make a bill payment and offers a
variety of ways to pay a bill, including accepting payments online, by
phone, automatic bank draft, mail or in person.
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.
If customers suspect someone is trying to scam them, they should hang
up, delete the email, or shut the door. They should then call PG&E at
1.800.743.9000. If customers ever feel that they are in physical danger,
they should call 911.
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 authorities. The Federal Trade Commission’s
website is also a good source of information about how to protect
UUAS is dedicated to combating impostor utility scams by providing a
forum for utilities and trade associations to share data and best
practices, in addition to working together to implement initiatives to
inform and protect customers.
For more information about scams, visit www.pge.com.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E
Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas
and electric energy companies in the United States. Based in San
Francisco, with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of
the nation’s cleanest energy to nearly 16 million people in Northern and
Central California. For more information, visit pge.com and pge.com/news.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Media Relations, 415-973-5930