Some PG&E customers falling victim to scam phone calls asking for bill payments

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- It's a call no one wants to get, with scammers preying on victims in hopes of getting some quick cash.

PG&E says there's been an increasing number of scammers threatening customers, like Lara Contreras, that if they don't pay, their power will shut off.

"They've called me from a PG&E phone number," Contreras said.

Contreras says the call she received started as an automated message.

"They said your PG&E service is going to get cut off if you don't press one and talk to an agent," Contreras said. "It scared me."

She said the caller asked for her address, and that they knew about how much she owed in her next bill.

However, it's their next request that made her realize something wasn't right.

"Bring money to Walmart; I knew it was a scam, and I hung up instantly," Contreras said.

PG&E says they're seeing twice the number of scam calls going out to customers, and that these criminals are getting a customer's name and account number to sound authentic.

Recently, they've been asking customers to send gift cards.

"Once a customer has gotten the car and given the number to the scammer, it's almost impossible to get the money back," says Denny Boyles, a PG&E spokesperson.

Officials with the Fresno County Sheriff's Office recieve calls on different types of scams every day.

They say if a call seems suspicious, ask the caller some questions about their identity, or make a call to the company.

"Tell them, 'hang on a moment,' and call the real company and do investigating," says Tony Botti with the Fresno County Sheriff's Office.

Contreras says she's still getting scam calls and continues to report them in hopes the criminals will stop calling.
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