San Mateo County sheriff's deputies and PG&E officials are investigating a scam in which someone posed as a PG&E employee earlier this month and said a business account was past due.
The sheriff's office received a report of a business in the 8100 block of Cabrillo Highway in unincorporated Montara that had received emails beginning Jan. 7 that stated they were from PG&E. The emails advised the business that its account was past due.
The business then received a phone call from a person who claimed to be with PG&E and who told the employee to go to a Walgreens store and load two cards with the amount due. The caller said that if the business didn't comply, its power would be turned off in 45 minutes, according to the sheriff's office.
PG&E is warning customers about the scam, which utility officials said has been reported around the country.
"It's unacceptable that someone is trying to take advantage of our customers and others," Helen Burt, chief customer officer for PG&E, said in a statement.
"We take our customers' security very seriously and under no circumstances would we email anyone to request that they provide personal information without first logging into My Energy or calling us," Burt said.
PG&E officials say their credit department does not ask for personal information or a credit card number over the phone.
Anyone who receives an email or call from someone who may be posing as a PG&E employee should contact the utility at CorporateSecurity@pge.com or by calling (800) 743-5000.