The first business reported the call on June 16. One of the three targets did pay up, to the tune of $500, police said. The caller asked for different methods of payment during each conversation — one business owner was asked to pay by money order; another to purchase two gift cards through Green Dot; and the third, by buying a Visa gift card.
The Menlo Park Chamber of Commerce sent out a warning on Friday, June 20, and described the legitimate steps that will occur should a business owe payment on an outstanding account balance. According to PG&E, a letter will be sent seven days before any disconnection, followed by a 24-hour notice and an automated phone call.
At no time will a live operator contact the business demanding payment. Acceptable forms of payment include credit cards, debit cards, pre-paid gift cards, and electronic checks, according to the utility company, but never money orders or fund transfers to a PayPal account.