Imposter PGE

Russell – Jul 21, 2020

Victim Location 93611

Type of a scam Debt Collections

Received a voice mail from 559-573-8355(caller id) saying I owe $400 to PG&E and if I don’t pay they will shut my power off. The number on the voice message was 800-217-7542.

Deanna –

Victim Location 93730

Type of a scam Debt Collections

Left a message saying my electric would be turned off in 30 minutes as it was past due. I called thinking perhaps they had left a message for the wrong customer as not only did I know it could not be my account as my payment is made automatically each month from a bank account but I double checked before calling back. I hung up when they said my account was past due and red flagged.

Danny –

Victim Location 93722

Type of a scam Utility

I’ve gotten this call twice in the last two weeks. The latest time I recorded the phone call; I kept them on the line for 39 minutes which I count as a victory since that was time they couldn’t scam someone who might fall for this.

The call appears to be coming from PG&E’s official number 800-743-5000 but it’s a scammer spoofing the number. They first call to inform me that a tech is en-route to disconnect my power and if I have questions I need to call 877-235-3321. They’ve called me on a Fri. afternoon and Sat. mid-morning telling me that a tech is scheduled to cut-off my power in the next 45-60 minutes due to non-payment. When I protest that I’ve paid my bills they say maybe that’s true but that the payments may have been mis-applied and they are happy to research that and return my money. But,in the meantime, if I want to keep my power on I’ll need to go to a Western Union pymt center, WITH CASH to make the pymt. If they find my previous pymts had been misapplied incorrectly they would reimburse me in 3-4 days but in the meantime if my power is cut-off it will be off until Monday or Tuesday since field techs don’t work Sundays.

When I asked (playing along) if I could make just a pymt online at the PG&E website they said no, those pymts take days to clear and it won’t be soon enough to stop the service interruption. They asked ME how much my average monthly pymts were. When I said $250 the first rep said the unpaid balance was around $1,498, when I told them (playing along) that I could afford that then later their "Supervisor" said the amount was actually just short of $3,000 in CASH. When I protested that I couldn’t get that much cash on a Saturday due to my ATM daily withdrawal limit of $1,000 they said I would need to go to a bank that was open on Saturdays to withdraw the whole cash amount with my card!

Since they are spoofing a real PG&E number, the first time I received a call I wasn’t certain it was fake and when I called PG&Es service line to check it out the PG&E phone system had a 1-1/2 hr wait so I couldn’t confirm the info but it eventually sounded so sketchy that I knew it had to be fake.

Hillary –

Victim Location 95501

Type of a scam Debt Collections

My employee answered a call that was supposedly an automated message from PG& that our bill was two months past due and would be shut off if we didn’t pay within an hour. She took down the call back number and passed it to my manager. He called the number 1-866-510-5927 x1211 and said the phone tree sounded like what we would expect to hear from PG&E. Press X for service, Press Y for info about the Camp Fire, etc. He ended up pressing 4 for All Other Issues. "David Fuentes" told him that we were two months behind in our bill, they’ve tried three times to contact us, and they are sending someone out to disconnect our power in one hour. The only way to pay was with a cash card purchased somewhere like Walmart and we were supposed to go get one, call back with the card info, and our power would be left on but if we didn’t do it in (now 55 minutes), our power would be turned off. He told them he’d let me know. I came back to the office, had another call from a different number for "Tony" at 1-800-740-500 x 1033 that they were about to kill the power. A couple hours after the initial call (with my power still on), I called "David’s" number back and they put me through to "Tony". These guys actually work in shifts!! I explained that I filed a complaint and that I understand this is a scam. They still tried to tell me that I have a Smart Meter and they could kill my power from them. I reiterated "scam, shame on you". They hung up. I still have power.

Amanda –

Victim Location 94541

Total money lost $979

Type of a scam Utility

I receive a called from my front desk saying that PG&E will cut off the power for not paying the bill on time. I called PG&E number 18004684743, they said my balance is paid and up to date. Then said since their system is updating, my payment was applied to another entity account. However, since PG&E did not payment for my current account, they will cut off my power supply. They then TRANSFERRED me to the local branch supervisor named Thomas Allen. Thomas said his dispatchers are going to cut the power off immediately if i do not pay the bill. I asked if i can pay credit or debit, he said no, if i pay cash then the confirmation is immediate. Then Thomas instructed me to find a CVS to buy a MoneyPak. I bought the money pak with a total of $979, and gave him the codes behind the money pak. He gave me a confirmation saying the bill was paid. I felt very weird about this so i called the same number again, 18004684743. They said my bill was up to date and there is no Thomas Allen in their supervisor branch. I complained to the PG&E saying I just paid $979 to prevent the power cut off, and the phone transfer came after i called their company. PG&E said they will not reimburse me and their NO team in their company to file a complaint to. They said there nothing they will do, and i lost to the scammer. I believe that this scam is internal within PG&E company because the number 18004684743 is a real number that PG&E is associated with.

Meagan –

Victim Location 94533

Total money lost $400

Type of a scam Fake Invoice/Supplier Bill

My new business (hair salon) was called yesterday around 3 o’clock from “PG&E” saying that we haven’t paid our bill and our Pg&e was going to get cut off. I was with a client so I got a call back number. When I called back I spoke with the “billing manager” “Leo Stewart”. He advised me that we were supposed to pay our deposit and our bill and it was late so we were going to get cut off. This was something I had spoke to Pg&e about (and resolved) which is why I fell for it. He said I had to pay cash that day at one of their locations to insure it didn’t get cut off and then because I had been given the run around with different agents he was going to refund the money the next day. The location I went to was a store at 1799 N. Texas St. Fairfield Ca 94533 at a Bitcoin machine. My boyfriend pays his Pg&e sometimes at an offsite location so I didn’t think anything of it. Although I was a little hesitant but didn’t want to interrupt my service. The next day (today) I called the number to follow up about my “reimbursement” and the number was disconnected. I am very distraught about this as this has never happened to me and I am a new business owner and every penny counts especially because my rent is due in a few days. I hope these people are found.

Scott –

Victim Location 95123

Total money lost $500

Type of a scam Utility

Hi, they called and imposing as a pg&e technician. And then customer service representative. Asking a money pack you can get a hold of a person on the other end by pressing dial pad #3 there will be short period of music thinking your on hold then he answers the phone demanding a MONEY PACK. THIS NUMBER IS VALID AS OF 02-16-2019 please get this guy before someone else falls for his trick

Alberto –

Victim Location 94080

Total money lost $999

Type of a scam Utility

We were called by PG&E saying we had a pending balance and that the account was going to be cancelled that day. We tried paying via debit card but they said it did not go through so they requested payment via MoneyPak. We did have a pending balance with PG&E so I thought it was legitimate and we went ahead and made the purchase and gave them the pre-paid cards. They then called and said they had not worked so we needed to do it again. That is when flags came up. They called me again to set up the new payment and that is when I told them I thought it was a scam. I asked for their manager who called himself Larry Smith, I asked for employee ID. I then asked for my account number and that is when they hung up.

Claire –

Victim Location 94111

Type of a scam Utility

Gino Gonzales, employee #4162 from "PG&E" called our Furniture showroom in San Francisco saying we hadn’t paid our PG&E bill since Feb and that if we dont pay $900 in cash in the next hour they would shut off our electricity. We couldn’t pay by cc or check over the phone because it would take 24 hrs to clear. That was our first notice or call ever.

They gave us this information: "the location of the payment center in her zip code and the amounts, etc. Two payments $500 and $398.32. There’s some limit to the amounts so they have to be processed in those amounts. "

Our rep ended up getting cash out and going to the "3rd party payment processor – Money Pack – at Rite Aid, and has the extension of the PG&E person – x.205, and she will process the payments after Susan gives her the receipt number, etc. "

Our rep went down there and reported this to us:

"When I got to the Rite Aid, the sales clerk said he had no idea what I was talking about, that he’d never heard of them being a PG&E payment location. I asked to speak to the Manager, and he said the same thing. He showed me the “Money Pack” cards for sale (on the rack with all the other gift cards for sale), and said he would be suspicious of a scam, saying once I had purchased the cards and had them loaded for those exact amount, the callers may have me read the bar code on the Money Pack card, and how would I be able to verify or trace anything? (especially since no one in this whole transaction had asked for Gunlocke’s PG&E account number?).

At that moment, I concluded he was right, so I thanked him and went back to my bank and redeposited my money!"

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