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By Max Dolberg/ZUMApress.com
By The Bakersfield Californian
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. is warning customers of a telephone scam demanding immediate payment for allegedly past-due electricity bills. This scam has targeted Hispanic business customers in the past, but there are reports that criminal groups are now targeting restaurants and residential customers.
Bakersfield-area PG&E customers have reported receiving calls warning that their electric service will be disconnected unless they make immediate payment through a prepaid cash card, such as a PayPal or Green Dot card. The Bakersfield Police Department is investigating.
PG&E reminds customers that its representatives never ask for immediate payment with a prepaid cash card over the phone or in person. PG&E offered these other tips Friday:
* PG&E's Credit Department will not ask for personal information or a credit card number over the phone. Anyone who has received such a phone call and provided credit card or checking account information should report it immediately to the credit card company or bank and law enforcement.
* Customers concerned about the legitimacy of a call about a past-due bill, service request or request for personal information are encouraged to call PG&E at 800-743-5000.
* Customers always should ask to see identification before allowing anyone claiming to be a PG&E representative inside their home. PG&E employees always carry their identification and are willing to show it to you.
* If a person claiming to be a PG&E employee has identification and you still feel uncomfortable, call PG&E's customer service line at 800-743-5000 to verify an appointment and/or PG&E's presence in the community. If you feel threatened in any way, notify local law enforcement immediately.
Beginning April 1 , the Consulate of Mexico's Consulado Sobre Ruedas program will operate every Tuesday and every other Wednesday at the Friendship House, 2424 Cottonwood Road in Bakersfield under a partnership with Community Action Partnership of Kern.
The program, which started in 2011, involves consular employees traveling to various Central Valley cities to provide Mexican nationals information about services and programs, including obtaining consular identification cards and passports by appointment. People would otherwise have to travel to Fresno.
Interested people who need service must call Mexitel at 877-639-4835, download the app MiConsulMex or go to sre.gob.mx/fresno to make an appointment.
The Bakersfield Optimist Club, a 75-year-old group, is hosting a new member drive for local residents interested in "bringing out the best in kids."
The organization is welcoming new members who would like to share their talents, time and themselves with young people through various projects, including an Appreciation Awards breakfast, where seniors from 17 different local High Schools are recognized, the Spirit of Service Awards, recognizing youth from each school in the city for on- and off-campus excellence and the Respect for Law Awards dinner, where local law enforcement personnel are recognized from nominations from their respective ranks.
Those interested in being part of the Bakersfield Optimist Club can come to an informal gathering where appetizers and light refreshments will be provided 5:30 p.m. March 31 at the Mount Vernon Veterans Hall at Mount Vernon Avenue and Ridge Road in Bakersfield.
For more information call Evelyn Ruiz at 872-1575.