Scammers Pretend to be from PG&E, Demand $500 to Keep Power On

December 22, 2013 12:00 pm · 36 comments

Scammers pretending to be from PG&E tried to steal money from a business in Concord this week.

Here’s the story:

Just wanted to give you a heads up in regards to a scam that has been going around and has targeted my family’s business this week.

On December 17. 2013, I received a call from a person named John Lopez stating that he is a representative from Pacific Gas & Electric and that they have sent out notifications that they will shut off our power due to delinquent payments.

After speaking to my father and looking over his account transactions, I noticed that both payments have cleared through with PG&E. My dad also stated that he never received any notices from PG&E besides billing statements in the past few months. After speaking with Mr. Lopez, the rep changed his story from not receiving any payments to “we are having issues with our new billing system, we did receive your fathers check. However, the check has bounced and we need payment right away or we will shut off your electricity.”

Mr. Lopez went on to say that he would like to keep PG&E customers happy and offer that if I paid the minimum balance of $200, he will extend our service to the end of the month and take off 10% on our next bill. Mr. Lopez transferred me to his manager; Dan Martinez after I asked what was my method of payment. After a brief 2 second wait, Mr. Martinez answered and said that I need to pay a minimum of $500 (instead of $200) and that he will send my father’s check back via FedEx. Mr. Martinez directed me to go to a 7-11 in town and get a money order or a green dot debit card to complete the transaction.

After hearing the last line, I told Mr. Martinez to go ahead and shut off our power because I am about to hang up on him. Mr. Martinez continued to make threats over the phone when I hung up. I dialed PG&E at 1-800-743-5000 to confirm that my father’s account was in good standing. The rep states that our account balance is at zero and that both John Lopez and Dan Martinez did not work for PG&E, let alone do they threaten to shut off service over the phone.

I am writing this to you because this has occurred in other cities around California when I conducted a search online and I don’t want any other businesses or residents to fall victim to these scammers.

Thanks for the information.

Claycordians, always be cautious of anybody demanding or asking for money over the phone or on the internet.


1 Mr. Moses December 22, 2013 at 12:13 PM

Sounds like they stole that from a Nephew Tommy prank…check it out on Youtube.

2 Question December 22, 2013 at 12:18 PM

What phone number did they call from? or was it a private caller?

3 MadMom December 22, 2013 at 12:20 PM

Just goes to show…never give out information if you didn’t initiate the call. Good job to this person for recognizing a scam :)

4 Scout December 22, 2013 at 12:23 PM

I’m actually surprised that the Claycordian kept the scammer on the phone for so long.

PG&E doesn’t call first for outstanding balances. They send out multiple notices via mail or email- usually with 7 day and a 24 hour shut off alerts.

I wonder why the “mark” continued to have a conversation after contacting PG&E giving the scammer a chance to change his story? Of course, at first mention of having to go to a 7-11 and getting a debit card, the person did the right thing by getting off the phone.

Things you can do:
Get caller ID and don’t answer calls from numbers that don’t make sense or don’t have a PG&E or other identifying info.

Ask questions to protect yourself. Ask the scammer to give YOU the account number in question. Don’t confirm or deny if it is correct at this point. Ask them to give you the date of the last payment.

Tell the caller you will have to call back after you check with your bank and then check your account with PG&E before you call them back. If they are scammers–do not call them back! Take note of the number and report it.

It’s just using some common sense to protect yourself.

5 Concordejet December 22, 2013 at 12:33 PM

Target scams
PGE scams
Targeting Seniors
Mail Scams
phone scams
internet scams
credit card scams
you name it, SCAMS are everywhere

we try to plum up those scums with a toilet plumbser but they kept on returning

6 Incognito December 22, 2013 at 12:39 PM

I’m with Scout #4.
Be smarter than these scumbags.
If it smells fishy, it probably is. Protect yourself by allowing yourself the opportunity to ask the questions and verify the legitimacy of these people.

7 Ted K. December 22, 2013 at 12:46 PM

Chances are there will be at least one dumb sheep in the herd

Read it first on Claycord!!!

8 Ano December 22, 2013 at 12:55 PM

As a recent retiree of pge, I can confirm that NONE of the methods that the imposter used are used by pge. Poster #4 is correct.
If anything, hang up and call 1-800-PGE-5000

9 CAtzmama December 22, 2013 at 1:13 PM

Last year I was reporting a scam ,that happened to me, at the Martinez Police Dept and a man rushed in saying he had sent $1200 by MoneyGram to a “pg&e representative” who came to his business with the same story. The police can’t help and you are out the money! He found out he was scammed when he phoned pg&e to complain about their tactics. I hope there is a special place in Hell for these scamming creeps!

10 Please, Please, Please....Call Me.... December 22, 2013 at 1:44 PM

I will be happy to deliver a “Special Payment”

11 Ted K. December 22, 2013 at 2:21 PM

@9… I rest my case.

12 J. December 22, 2013 at 2:25 PM

They’re in Nigeria. You won’t be able to deliver any special payment to them in person.

13 Let's set these people up!!!! December 22, 2013 at 2:27 PM

Let them think you are going to go do this and get as much information as you can so you can turn it over to Law Enforcement.

I am surprised at just how many people still fall for these scams.

But I guess I should not be to surprised because we still have Drunk Drivers & people who talk on their cell phones while driving.

All I can say is WOW it is tough not to say things like they get what they deserve if they fall for such stupid scams or get caught doing other stupid things after they have been warned for years about such behavior.

But I am trying to not be judgmental…..

Anyway it is completely understanding why people voted for Obama some of you have a difficult time getting through the day and you need the help….


14 J. December 22, 2013 at 2:32 PM

They’re in Nigeria. You won’t be able to set them up.

They’re using VOIP lines (Magic Jack) so the phone call costs them nothing.

15 Rob December 22, 2013 at 3:59 PM

If only everyone was a smart and foolproof as the posters here the world would be perfect.

16 Ted K. December 22, 2013 at 4:42 PM

Americans are soooo gullible. That’s how that idiot got to be President.

17 @13 December 22, 2013 at 4:51 PM

These people are professional con artists. They can fool even smart people. Nobody deserves to get scammed and it has nothing to do with Obama.

I sincerely hope the same thing doesn’t happen to you some day. But don’t think you’re too smart to get ripped off.

18 Laura Zah December 22, 2013 at 5:12 PM

Rob, you’ve obviously never visited the Politics Column.

19 Schmee December 22, 2013 at 5:29 PM

Americans are sooo stupid. That’s why the Republican Party still exists

20 @ Et Al... December 22, 2013 at 5:41 PM

Americans are soooo gullible , that’s how
They all continue to exist. Seems the real
Con-men work for J.P. Morgan/ Chase for

21 Johnny Ringo December 22, 2013 at 5:48 PM

Burn ‘em. Burn ‘em all.

22 Super Rich Guy December 22, 2013 at 6:00 PM

Not worthy of Claycord. Too stupid and obvious.

23 Teacher Wannabe December 22, 2013 at 7:34 PM

@Ted K, the people got smart and got the right person in the White House, the idiots were the ones voting the Bushes in, which put us in the economy were in now. Off topic, I know, but Ted opened the door.

24 Acc December 22, 2013 at 7:48 PM

@ ted k. Lol. That’s the truth.

25 Private Schools for My Kid December 22, 2013 at 8:30 PM

@ Teacher Wannabe Yours is exactly the kind of mindset that caused me to send my child to private school and I hope to God you never get near a classroom because you are dumb enough to send the check or money order.

26 Claytonian December 22, 2013 at 9:14 PM

At Ted K. .. Agree 100%. LOL!

At Teacher Wannabe: if it wasn’t for the liberal media, our current prez would go down as the worst of all time.

27 . December 22, 2013 at 9:56 PM

@teacher wannabe….

Lemme know what school you’ll be teaching at and we’ll make sure to go to another district!

28 anon December 22, 2013 at 10:03 PM

alright folks, take it over to ‘tallk about politics’. move along now.

29 Nymous December 22, 2013 at 10:04 PM

I think those people who turn any topic into a politics thread are dumb.

To the person who provided the info about this PG&E scam. Thank you.

30 @Ted K December 22, 2013 at 10:34 PM

To which idiot are you referring? Or could it be all of them?

31 @Let's set these people up!!!! December 23, 2013 at 1:03 AM

I voted for Obama. Twice. Just like a whole lot of other people. Get over it, he’s the President and no amount of pissing, moaning or spewing on your part is going to change it.

Just to set the record straight, I’ve been a hard-working, self-reliant person all my life, with a good old-fashioned work ethic handed down to me by my parents. I’ve never been on welfare and or otherwise been a “parasite” on society. I paid my own way through college without student loans and never asked for a handout from the government.

Yes, you ARE judgemental. And ignorant. There are millions of Obama-voters like me. Not on the Gravy Train. Self-reliant, sacrificing people who work our asses off for ourselves and our families. And I’ll take my Social Security payments – that I earned – when the time comes.

Stop spreading stupid stereotypes. It just makes you look like an idiot.

32 Antler December 23, 2013 at 7:09 AM

#31 ~ ~ ~ Well said! Thank you.

#28 ~ ~ ~ And you are correct as well !

33 bigdaddy December 23, 2013 at 8:15 AM

the same morons who fell for the pg and e scam are probably the same morons who vote for OBAMA?

34 TinFoiler December 23, 2013 at 8:26 AM

Antler, You are NOT the blog moderator.

35 LOL December 23, 2013 at 9:54 AM

Antler is the greatest voice on Claycord, in his own mind. Feel sorry for his wife, if he even has one.

36 Happened to me too. But... December 23, 2013 at 1:05 PM

They were young girls (I’m guessing middle school age) and it was obviously not legit. I kept them on the phone long enough to mock them. Then I did the *67 (they didn’t block it..haha), and scared the living soup out of them! They were crying asking me not to tell their parents and promising not to do it again.

Yes, that was a good day!

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