San Rafael, CA – June 26, 2014. Telephone scammers are making daily attempts to dupe San Rafael residents out of their money.
The never-ending series of phone scams continues with a couple of versions: the jury duty or red light camera warrant scam; or the PG&E past due account scam. In the first situation, a caller claiming to be a law enforcement official tells the person answering the phone that they failed to report for jury duty and a warrant has been issued for their arrest. In another version of this, the “official” says that the person has an outstanding red light camera violation and a fine is due or a warrant needs to be paid. Lately the “official” has been identifying himself as “Lt. Mike Turner.”
The PG&E scam targets both residential and business customers of Pacific Gas and Electric. The caller tells the customer that their account is past due and they must pay immediately or power will be disconnected.
The scammer tells the victim to purchase a Green Dot MoneyPak card in the amount of the bail, fine, or past-due payment. Green Dot cards are reloadable, pre-paid credit cards and available everywhere. The cards are a legitimate and convenient way for people who don’t have or want bank accounts to pay bills. The victim is instructed to call back with the number on the back of the card. In some instances, the scammer arranges to call back in order to get the number information. Anyone with the card number has instant access to the funds and it is untraceable.
Neither the Marin County Sheriff, Marin County Court, or any law enforcement agency in Marin would call and demand fines or bail payments. The PG&E web page says that “PG&E employees will never ask you to buy a pre-paid credit card to pay your bill. Live PG&E employees do not accept payment over the phone. PG&E only accepts telephone payments using our automated telephone payment system. Customers with questions about the legitimacy of a call are encouraged to contact PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.”
Anyone receiving this type of call should refuse the request and can contact their local law enforcement agency. Marin County Superior Court maintains a web page with more information about jury duty and the Marin County Sheriff’s Office has a warrant search page.
Marin County Court website:
Marin County warrant check: