Scammers pose as PG&E employees to collect payments, Central Valley targeted

CBS47 On Your Side

FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – A scam is circulating in the Central Valley and the target is PG&E customers.

Someone posing as a PG&E employee calls and gives you an hour to make a payment or else they say your electricity will be shut off. It’s a scam that some families have already fallen for.

It’s an easy scheme to get caught up in. You think you’re behind on a payment, you don’t want your electricity to get cut off. You quickly pay hundreds of dollars, only to later find out you were scammed.

Rosario’s family member received a phone call from this type of scammer.

She asked Rosario if she could handle the matter, turning Rosario over to deal with who she thought was a PG&E employee. Rosario says the phone call from the scammer sounded legitimate.

“It sounded to be from the PG&E,” Rosario said. “It had the recording of PG&E and it had options.”

She was told to go to CVS, buy a MoneyPak card, and load it with $233.

“I put the money on here and his instructions were scratch the back and read him these numbers,” Rosario said.

The money was immediately wiped before Rosario had time to question the scheme.

The Better Business Bureau says this form of payment is commonly used among scammers.

“The scammer can take that money out of your account, and it’s not traceable,” Blair Looney, Better Business Bureau of Central California CEO, said. “You’re done. That’s why it’s so popular.”

On the back of the MoneyPak card Rosario used is a warning in red.

“It says on the back, beware of scams asking for payment with MoneyPak,” Rosario said. “if I would’ve read that, not being in the rush, I would’ve stopped.”

Rosario says people should ask more questions when on the phone.

That includes getting the information of the person who says they work for PG&E and tell them you will check into the matter yourself. She says looking back, she should have called PG&E to confirm the information about the account.

The BBB warns scammers are smart in their tactics and their next target could easily be you.

“We all get caught up on that emotion and urgency of ‘you have to respond now’ but don’t fall for it.”

If you think you have been scammed, contact the BBB here or call our CBS 47 On Your Side Tipline at 559-761-0383 or email us at OnYourSide@cbsfresno.com.

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