Downtown Turlock’s popular eatery 10 East Kitchen & Tap House was nearly the latest local victim in a nationwide Pacific Gas & Electric scam.
10 East Co-Owner Titus Striplin says a caller claiming to be from PG&E collections indicated that 10 East was delinquent in payments and needed to send a payment over the phone. Otherwise, PG&E would shut off 10 East's gas, the caller said.
After further questioning, Striplin says 10 East figured out it was a scam.
“It’s a pretty good scam, heck they even stayed on the line until we were on the other line with PG&E making sure we were current with our payments,” he wrote in a Facebook post.
“We did some digging afterwards and traced the number back to a Magic Jack internet phone from Kenya,” explained Striplin. “We’ve had several customers who told us they had the same thing happen to them and we even had one customer who told us he lost $180 and had to cancel all of his accounts.”
PG&E has released the following statement regarding the scam.
“PG&E has learned of an e-mail and telephone scam targeting residents across the United States. The utility has received calls from people, both within its service area and outside of it, reporting that they have received suspicious e-mails that appeared to be bills sent by PG&E. This is similar to e-mail and phone scams that have been happening recently throughout the country involving several utilities.”
Helen Burt, the utility’s chief customer officer and a senior vice president, encouraged customers to use caution.
“We take our customers’ security very seriously and under no circumstances would we e-mail anyone to request that they provide personal information without first logging into My Energy or calling us,” Burt said.
PG&E says they are investigating the situation and have contacted the proper authorities. They say there has been no security breach.
Those with questions about the legitimacy of a correspondence from PG&E should call 1-800-743-5000, or report suspicious emails to CorporateSecurity@pge.com.