We want to alert you to four scams targeting customers of PGE and utilities nationwide, which we’re working with local authorities to investigate.
- The first is a telephone scam in which thieves posing as PGE employees ask for a pre-paid credit card to collect a past-due bill or payment for services like switching a meter.
- The second is an email scam, in which customers are sent an email with fraudulent account information and asked to click on a hyperlink to confirm or view information. That link can download viruses to your computer.
- The third is a text message scam, in which customers receive spam, inappropriate texts, or phishing texts allegedly sent by PGE.
- The fourth is a Federal Reserve Bank scam, in which ads, websites, texts or phone calls from salespeople claim the Federal Reserve Bank will pay their bills as part of a government assistance program.
How it worksThe caller states the customer owes PGE money and must pay immediately or power will be disconnected. The scammer then directs customers to purchase a pre-paid credit card (e.g. Reloadit, Green Dot or Vanilla Reload) and to phone back with the credit card number. In some cases, the fraudulent caller arranges to call back to get the credit card number. In either case, this is not PGE’s practice for collecting past-due accounts.
It is important to know that PGE employees will never ask you to buy a pre-paid credit card to pay your bill. PGE employees do not accept payment over the phone. PGE accepts only telephone payments using our automated telephone payment system.
What to do if you are targetedIf you are targeted by this scam, please hang up. Immediately report it to PGE Customer Service at 800-542-8818 and contact your local police department. If you are unsure whether the call is from PGE, you can hang up and call PGE Customer Service for confirmation.
How it worksCustomers have received emails that look like billing statements, include fake account numbers, and appear to come from utilities like PG & E (not PGE). One example of this email is below.
The email tells customers that their gas and electricity bill is ready and provides a link to view the bill. If recipients click on the link, it takes them to a compromised website that may download viruses or harbor malware.
What to do if you are targeted
If you are unsure of the authenticity of a billing email, we encourage you to log in to your account to review your statement. You can also contact PGE Customer Service at 800-542-8818 to verify your account information.
Text Message Scam
How it worksCustomers have received text messages from scammers pretending to be PGE. The scammers use sophisticated internet telephone technology to disguise their locations, and tell customers they are calling from federal government agencies. They then provide a phone number where customers can call them back.
To receive any text messages from PGE, customers must register their mobile phone online; legitimate text messages from PGE come in the form of a short, six-digit code phone number: 898-743 (TXT-PGE).
What to do if you are targetedIf you receive a text message that appears to be fake, we recommend you ignore or block that phone number immediately. If you want more information on how or when PGE will send you a text message, please contact PGE Customer Service at 800-542-8818 or see mobile and text options for details.
Federal Reserve Bank Scam
How it works
Customers respond to ads, websites, texts, or phone calls from salespeople who claim the Federal Reserve Bank will pay their bills as part of a government assistance program. In return for a processing fee and personal information, the scammer gives the customer instructions on how to use a government bank account number to pay bills online or even print their own checks.
However, there’s a problem with the bank account number. It’s for an account that can only be used to transfer funds between banks. That means the account won’t work for making a payment and customers still need to make their PGE payment using their own bank account or a different method. Those who try to use the Federal Reserve Bank account may be hit with late fees on their PGE account, and charges from the bank.
In addition to extra charges, when customers pay the scammers the processing fee, they are at risk for additional identity theft and may be at risk for fines or arrest for passing bad checks.
What to do if you are targetedIf these scammers have caused you a financial loss, you should file a report it to your local law enforcement agency. You can also report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission. We’re working with law enforcement to help stop this scam and your help by reporting scams and working with law enforcement is very helpful.
If you need help paying your bill, and you qualify, there are assistance programs available. Call PGE Customer Service at 800-542-8818 to learn more.