PG&E is warning of scammers masquerading as utility workers trying to steal financial information from customers, file fraudulent tax returns, and then cash the refunds in their names.
On April 13, a PG&E impersonator deceived one customer out of $1,000 in Foster City, which was one of several cases in the past week brought to the attention of authorities. It's suspected that many victims do not report cases due to embarrassment, officials said.
PG&E does not request financial information over the phone or email, nor would they demand payment for late bills on the spot, said Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Officer Marlene Santos.
"We urge customers to be extra vigilant during this time as criminals will use the tax filing deadline to create fear and scam unsuspecting victims, especially when a group of people is vulnerable or in a state of need," Santos said.
PG&E lists several signs that suggest a customer might be dealing with a scammer. This includes a false representative pressuring a client for immediate payment for a past due bill, threatening to disconnect a customer's account due to a 30-day lapse in payment, instructing a customer to buy a pre-paid card then encouraging them to make a payment, or offering a rebate or a refund for a bill.