Beware of scams targeting utility customers
There’s no shortage of scams these days. Unfortunately, scammers are targeting utility customers just like you. Here are some helpful tips and hints to protect yourself.
Beware if someone calls, claiming to be from PGE, and threatens to turn off your power that day (usually within an hour) if payment is not made. PGE never gives such short notice. We will attempt to contact customers five days before shut-off, so you have time to make a payment.
Although rare, sometimes a scammer pretending to be a PGE employee will come to your home or business and demand immediate payment on a late bill. If this happens to you, ask to see their PGE employee badge and call to verify.
Be suspicious if the amount demanded is just under $500 or $1000, especially if you don’t think you owe that much. These are common payment amounts scammers ask for.
Most scammers demand payment with a pre-paid payment card. PGE will never ask you to pay with a pre-paid card.
Some scammers use fake bills that look official. If the account and billing information you receive, whether it be in person, text, email or phone call, does not match your account number and billing information on portlandgeneral.com, it should be considered highly suspect.
If you have the slightest suspicion a phone call may be a scam, hang up. To see if you are actually behind on your payment, you can check your account online at portlandgeneral.com or give us a call at 800-542-8818.
A scam caller says there is an issue with your account or bill. They ask you to call back on a non-PGE number or connect you with a real PGE employee while staying silently on the line to collect your personal information.
If you think you have received a scam phone call, hang up. Immediately call our Customer Service team at 800-542-8818 and tell them about the call you received.
A scam caller states that you owe PGE money and must pay immediately, or power will be disconnected. The scammer then directs you to purchase a prepaid credit card (e.g. Reloadit, Green Dot or Vanilla Reload) and to call back with the credit card number. In some cases, the fraudulent caller arranges to call back to get the credit card number. In either case, this is not PGE’s method for collecting past-due accounts.
It is important to know that PGE employees will never ask you to buy a prepaid credit card to pay your bill.
If you are targeted by this type of scammer phone call, please hang up. Immediately report it to PGE Customer Service at 800-542-8818 and contact your local police department. If you are unsure whether the call is from PGE, you can hang up and call PGE Customer Service for confirmation.
You receive an email that looks like a billing statement from PGE but it includes fake account numbers (may appear to come from PG&E not PGE). An example of this kind of scam email is below.
The email tells you that your gas and electricity bill is ready and provides a link to view the bill. If you click on the link, it takes you to a compromised website that may download viruses or harbor malware.
If you are unsure of the authenticity of a billing email, we recommend you sign in to your account to review your statement. You can also contact PGE Customer Service at 800-542-8818 to verify your account information.
Text Message Scam
You receive text messages from scammers pretending to be PGE and requesting action on a payment due. The scammers use sophisticated technology to disguise their location and identity, and then provide a phone number for you to call them back with a payment.
Legitimate text messages from PGE will never seek payment or request personal information like your social security number, bank information or credit card numbers. Here are a few examples when you might see text alerts from us, depending on the message preferences you set:
There’s an outage in your area (as a residential or small business customer, you’re automatically enrolled in these alerts)
Event notifications if you’re enrolled in a program like Peak Time Rebates
Your weekly electricity use
Your bill may exceed an amount you set
We’ve received your payment
Your bill is due or past due
Your service may be disconnected due to outstanding payments
You can always manage your message preferences by logging into your account online. And if you rather not receive outage alerts, you can unsubscribe from getting them anytime by replying STOPOUTAGEALERT.
A scammer pretending to be a PGE employee comes to your home or business and asks you for immediate payment on a late bill (the requested amount usually ranges from $50 to $100 and is usually for cash).
If anyone ever comes to your door claiming to be from PGE, ask to see their PGE employee badge. The badge will include the employee’s name, photo and a PGE logo. It will also list a verification number you can call to confirm the person is actually a PGE employee. If you ever feel uncomfortable, don’t open the door or hand over money. Call PGE customer service at 800-542-8818, and a PGE employee will work with you. Remember, you can contact us during business hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to discuss your account, amount due and our convenient billing and payment options.
PGE and more than 100 nationwide electricity, water, and gas utilities have formed a coalition, Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS), to collectively inform and educate customers about these scams. We also support local authorities investigating scams and other suspicious activity that is reported by our customers.