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PG&E warns Central Coast customers of tax season scam

SALINAS, Calif. - Pacific Gas & Electric wants to warn customers of an uptick in scams as the tax filing deadline quickly approaches.

PG&E said it has received more than 20 reports of customers getting emails or calls from scammers posing to be employees. There have even been reports of these con artists knocking on doors trying to get into peoples' homes.

"The scams have increased this whole year we've noticed anyway with a lot of our customers. They're getting a lot more aggressive with the phone calls, the emails seem really legit I guess you could say. So I would just be real cautious,” said Chief of Operations at Latino Tax Professionals Association, David Lopez.

PG&E spokeswoman Mayra Tostado said, "Now what scammers do is they take that personal information, file a fraudulent tax return, deposit it into your account and then they'll call you and say, 'hey, something is wrong, you have to send us that money or else you're going to go to jail. So that scares a lot of people and what's actually their tax refund is being sent to scammers.”

The scammers are also calling and asking for personal information for a "solar evaluation," saying they're eligible for a tax refund.

Scammers are getting pretty sophisticated these days and are doing something called 'spoofing.' So when they call potential victims, victims see PG&E's phone number on their caller ID.

"Even though you see PG&E’s phone number on your caller id, that doesn't necessarily mean that it's PG&E. Remember we'll never ask you for personal information over the phone, credit or bank account information either. Those are red flags,” said Tostado.

They said scammers prey on procrastinators so as the clock ticks down to the April 17 deadline be cautious with emails and phone calls you receive from anyone demanding your personal information.

Lopez said, “The IRS does not call you, they will send you letter, they will send you a bunch of letters, then they'll garnish your wages, then they'll arrest you. So I know a lot of these scammers say they're going to arrest you in 15 minutes and that's never the case."

PG&E said if someone comes to your house without an appointment don't let them in if you don't feel comfortable ask for identification. You can also call PG&E to see if there is an actual employee in your neighborhood.

To learn more about how to protect yourself from scams click HERE.


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