It is a scam and targets thousands of Bay Area residents, especially during the holidays. A South Bay man lost almost $ 2,000 to impostors in October. He came to 7 On Your Side to warn everyone – don’t fall for the trap.
It’s ramped up during the holidays.
Imagine that you are organizing a rally and a call comes in saying: “It’s PG&E, you haven’t paid your bill and your electricity is about to be cut!” “
Victims panic and send their money – only it doesn’t really go to PG&E
Campbell’s Douglas Gillison was just waking up on a Saturday morning when the call came in. âThis guy convinced me that the trucks were going to my place to cut the power,â said Gillison. “The caller ID sounded legitimateâ¦ he’s this guy, he looks very, very convincing.”
The man on the phone said his utility bill was overdue – PG&E was about to cut the power and it was almost too late to shut it down.
âI asked the guy if I could pay with a credit card. He said, no there’s not enough timeâ¦ the only way to do it was with Zelle,â Gillison said.
The imposters told her to use the Zelle quick checkout app to get her there on time.
âHe did a really good job of making it feel like an emergencyâ¦ so I hurry out of bed and come to the computer, set it upâ¦ and make this payment,â he said. declared.
But the man said he had gone to the wrong place by mistake. Gillison had to start over and he could repay himself the first payment.
âI’m supposed to write the codes in the memo section and again, I’m not very familiar with Zelle,â Gillison said.
He made five transactions, not realizing the money was really going to the crooks.
“I don’t know what got into me except I had a house full of people … little kids playing with electronics, people watching TV, so I thought I would take care of it, âhe said.
PG&E says impostors have targeted thousands of people during the pandemic – most reports coming from San Jose, followed by Oakland and San Francisco – threatening them with power cuts.
âThe number of scams has increased, especially in the Bay Area,â said Myra Toastada, spokesperson for PG&E. “It puts people in a panic. And they will ask for immediate payment … Don’t fall for the trap. We will never threaten you.”
Even if you To do owe money, PG&E says you will receive a notice in the mail with an option for a payment plan.
After several transactions, Gillison became suspicious and called PG&E directly.
âAm I okay? Am I in good standing? ‘Oh yeah, absolutely, your account is okay,’â he said.
A call he would have liked to have made before.
âI just want to warn people. There are some really, really good crooks out there,â said Gillison.
PG&E would also never require payment through Zelle or other apps, or with prepaid cards, which scammers demanded and still do. If someone demands payment in a certain way, it is most likely a scam. Hang up.
Check out more stories and videos from Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.
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