Staff Report

PG&E is warning customers about scam phone calls where criminals threaten to shut off power if a payment is not made. There have been double the number of scam attempts in some areas compared to this time last year, company officials said.

 The scammers often demand payment on past due utility bills immediately with a cash card. Recently they have been disguising their true phone numbers with a caller ID that says “PG&E” or “Pacific Gas & Electric.”

Other scam phone call tactics include:

n Notifying residents that they are eligible for a federal tax refund related to their utility bill

n Trying to sell services related to solar evaluation

n Claiming to represent a PG&E initiative to sell a product in order to gain access to their home.

PG&E officials say that the company will not ask for personal information or a credit card number over the phone. Anyone who has received such a phone call and provided credit card or checking account information should report it immediately to the credit card company or bank and law enforcement.

Customers with concerns about the legitimacy of a call about a past due bill, service request or request for personal information are encouraged to call PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.

Customers should always ask to see identification before allowing anyone claiming to be a PG&E representative inside their home.