MENDOCINO Co., 11/14/19 -- As if being annoyed with Pacific Gas & Electric weren't enough, there is now appears to be a group of scammers pretending to be PG&E, mimicking the call for a power shut-off (or PSPS) to extract money from local residents whose nerves are already frayed.
According to the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office (MCSO), the scammers call claiming that a customer's account has been suspended, that they are delinquent, and then instruct them not to pay in person, but to go to a convenience store and purchase a money order, which someone will them come to scan.
An alternate scam warns that another power shut-off is immenint and then instructs customers to input personal information to see if they will be affected.
Additionally, a reporter for The Mendocino Voice has recently been targeted for two scams, one in which a phone call warned that their social security number had been "suspended," and another a phishing scam asking for an Apple password via email.
So here's a few more things to worry about, head's up.
And here's the original press release from the MCSO:
DATE: "November 14, 2019"
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Public Service Announcement - Telephone Scam Warning
Date of Incident:
Deputy Sam Logan #2674
On 11-05-2019 the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office received a phone call from a concerned citizen about a potential phone scam.
The citizen stated a person called from a number which mirrored that of PG&E’s actual public phone number. The subject identified themselves as an employee of Pacific Gas and Electric, and even provided a badge number.
The subject informed the citizen due to a recent company data software issue, the customer’s account had been suspended. The subject stated the customer was several days past due on their account, and needed to pay the outstanding balance immediately.
The subject then directed the customer not go to a local PG&E office to pay the fine, as the company's system was down.
The subject instead directed the subject to go to any local convenience store and purchase a money order or money gram. The subject then stated a service technician from the company would then be dispatched to the customer’s physical address, and scan the money gram bar code.
Additionally, Deputies observed several social media posts from people stating they were contacted by PG&E to inform them of a potential public safety power shutoff. The call then directs them to talk to an operator to get the exact time of the power outage.
The subjects on the phone then inform the customer of similar circumstances about their account being suspended, and attempt to obtain personal and financial information.
The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office urges anyone who receives a call of this nature to not provide any personal information or provide any payment as it is an obvious Identity Theft related activity.
Captain Gregory L. Van Patten #1184