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Pacific Grove restaurant owner scammed

By Jake Reiner, Reporter, JakeReiner@kionrightnow.com
Published On: Apr 11 2014 12:49:10 AM CDT
Updated On: Apr 11 2014 01:59:00 PM CDT

Pacific Grove business owner says he was scammed by fake PG&E call.

PACIFIC GROVE, Calif. -

Ranieri Guimareas' day started with a simple phone call. But what happened next turned this Pacific Grove restaurant owner's day upside down.

"I totally freak out," he said.

Guimaraes said someone called saying they were with Pacific, Gas and Electric and told him his bill was overdue. If he didn't pay up in 30 minutes, it was lights out.

In a panic, he paid $1,000 with a cash card. One very expensive mistake.

"I'd like to see PG&E take full responsibility for this," he said.

PG&E said this type of scam happens all the time, usually with restaurant owners in their peak business hours using a cash card.

Guimaraes said his restaurant is busiest at 11 a.m., which was exactly when the scammers' call came in. Using the cash card to pay, made it even worse.

"He has all my account numbers, you know everything about my bill," he said.

When it was all over, Guimaraes called the real PG&E customer service department but it was too late.

 "They say 'well you're current, you don't owe us anything,'" he said recalling his conversation with PG&E.

Now he's out $1,000 and his case is now a job for Pacific Grove Police.

PG&E said it will never threaten you to turn off your electricity, it will never ask you to pay with a cash card or ask for any of your information over the phone. It said it wants to remind customers if something doesn't seem right, it probably isn't.

If you wish to contact PG&E, here is the number: 1-800-743-5000