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Berkeley Police Warning: Beware of PG&E Scam

Berkeley police are warning of a scam in which callers posing as PG&E representatives say you're behind on paying your bill and must transfer $500 to keep your electricity on.

Berkeley police issued a fraud alert on Aug. 16, 2013 about a scam by callers pretending to be PG&E representatives.
Berkeley police issued a fraud alert on Aug. 16, 2013 about a scam by callers pretending to be PG&E representatives.
Berkeley police issued a warning this morning, Friday, about a scam in which a caller pretending to represent PG&E tells people that they are behind on payments and must electronically wire $500 to keep their electricity from being shut off.

The department has received a number of calls in the past week about such calls in North Berkeley, police said. The man says the funds must electronically transferred and provides the telephone number (559) 800-7403 to call to make the wire transfer, according to police.

"This is a scam!" the police department said. "If you do receive a telephone call from a person stating they are PG&E, you can always call into PG&E yourself to confirm.  PG&E’s customer service telephone number is (800) 743-5000."

PG&E never asks for immediate payment with a cash card over the phone or in person, police said.

The police department alert also relayed the following tips from PG&E:
  • 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, service request or request for personal information are encouraged to call PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.
  • 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 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 1-800-743-5000 to verify an appointment and/or PG&E’s presence in the community. If you feel threatened in any way, 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 a personal call from a PG&E gas service representative prior to a scheduled visit.

Anyone who has been victimized by the scam and lost money can report the fraud by calling Berkeley police at (510) 981-5900.

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For other police-related news on Berkeley Patch, see our "Police and Fire" section.

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