Your Electric Company Will Not Call And Demand Payment By Prepaid Card

While your local utility could call you up and demand immediate instant payment using a prepaid debit card before shutting off your natural gas and power, they will never actually do that. The owner of the Squeeze Inn, a fantastically-named restaurant in California, learned that the hard way when he panicked and sent $1,000 to scammers claiming to represent Pacific Gas & Electric.

The caller ID claimed to be PG&E, and the person on the other end claimed that there was a crew on their way over right then. Panic overrode the owner’s better judgement and even his knowledge that the bill had already been paid. He obtained the prepaid card and stopped the imaginary crew from turning off his utilities.

Green Dot itself even offers anti-fraud advice on their website, including these crucial tips:

  • Never give your MoneyPak number to someone you don’t know.
  • Refuse any offer that asks you to buy a MoneyPak and share the number or receipt information by email or phone.
  • Don’t use the MoneyPak to pay taxes or fees to claim “winnings” on a foreign lottery or prize promotion. Unless it’s an approved MoneyPak partner, don’t use MoneyPak for any offer that requires you to pay before you get the item.

Those are all solid pieces of advice. The problem, of course, is that many targets of these scams aren’t Internet-savvy, and will never see this page. Same goes for the very useful list of approved partner companies that accept MoneyPak payments.

It would be useful to put these tips on the package for the MoneyPak cards, but people still probably wouldn’t pay attention to them.

If you do receive a collections call from your utility, hang up and call the number on your bill: if it’s a legitimate call, they should not have a problem with this.

Squeeze Inn Owner Falls Victim To Scammer Claiming He Was From PG&E [CBS Sacramento]

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