Local News

PG&E warns of bill-paying scam

By From page A16 | July 15, 2012

PG&E is warning customers about an ongoing scam involving claims that President Barack Obama is providing credit for or directly paying utility bills.

The scam targets customers through social media, posted fliers, text messages and phone calls, PG&E spokeswoman Brandi Ehlers said. In some cases, customers have been asked for Social Security numbers to apply payments to customers’ utility bills, presenting an identity theft risk.

PG&E representatives do not ask for personal or banking information over the phone, said Ehlers, who offered the following tips for avoiding that and other scams:

* Customers should always ask to see identification before allowing anyone claiming to be a PG&E representative inside their home. PG&E employees always carry their identification and are always willing to show it to you.

* If a person claiming to be a PG&E employee has identification and you still feel uncomfortable, call PG&E’s customer service line at (800) PGE-5000 to verify an appointment and/or PG&E’s presence in the community. If you feel threatened in any way, you should notify local law enforcement immediately.

* Customers who have an appointment with PG&E will receive an automated call back within 48 hours prior to a scheduled visit, or they will receive a personal call from a PG&E gas service representative prior to a scheduled visit.

* PG&E’s credit department 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, a service request or a request for personal information are encouraged to call PG&E at (800) PGE-5000.

PG&E takes security seriously and will actively work with law enforcement to help stop any scam impacting customers, Ehlers said. Anyone who has received a call or visit similar to the one described above can report it immediately by calling PG&E at (800) PGE-5000.

If you need assistance with paying your bill, visit www.pge.com/financialassistance. In addition to pay plans, several programs are available to assist customers with their bills, such as CARE, REACH, LIHEAP, Medical Baseline and the Energy Savings Assistance Program.

Enterprise staff

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