Monterey County

Scammers Posing As PG&E Now Targeting Central Coast

Produce company owner says scammer threatened to cut service

PG&E Phone Scam Hits Central Coast Businesses

SALINAS, Calif. - Scammers may be targeting you on your phone and threatening to cut off your power. Central Coast News has been reporting how scammers are swindling money from people in the Bay Area by posing as PG&E. Now the latest victims are on the Central Coast.

A produce company owner in Salinas came forward to Central Coast News so other people are aware of what happened to him.

Don Blanton, owner of Blanton Produce Company, said Tuesday night a scammer tried getting more than $1,400 out of him for an outstanding bill.

"He told us that our account has been compromised, and our checks are bouncing all over and we were past due on our bill," Blanton said.

And if he didn't pay up, the man said he would cut off his power. It was a big concern for Blanton, considering his company relies on electricity to keep all the produce cool before it's shipped out.

"He wouldn't take a check because our account had been compromised. He wanted either cash or a credit card," Blanton said.

But once Blanton realized he didn't owe anything and the man became irate when he kept asking questions, he knew something was wrong.

The scams have become so widespread that PG&E has been warning callers on their customer service line and website.

Representatives with the utility company said scammers are now using emails to trick people. So far PG&E received 25,000 reports since January.

Blanton said he came forward so no one else falls victim.

"My main concern is that there's a lot of people out there who would panic and would give the credit card or come up with the cash," he said.

PG&E couldn't tell Central Coast News how many phone scam victims have come forward or how much money the scammers made off with so far. The utility company wants to remind the public it would never ask for personal information over the phone, including credit card and social security numbers.

If you get a call and something doesn't seem right, you're urged to call the PG&E Customer Service line at 1-800-PGE-5000.

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