12/13/2012 06:01 pm ET Updated Feb 12, 2013

PG&E Scam: Fake Workers Swindle Lower Haight Residents

This article comes to us courtesy of SF Weekly's The Snitch.

By Albert Samaha

You've probably noticed that a lot of people are trying harder to get your money this time of year. The department stores offering seasonal discounts. The luxury car companies with their red-bow-on-the-roof commercials. Even your own body, with its demands to turn up the heater in the house.

And now you've got holiday scammers to worry about, too. This week, the SFPD alerted residents about two strategies local grifters have employed as of late.

In one scam attempt earlier this month, a Lower Haight resident came home to find what appeared to be a PG&E notice on the front door, according to the SFPD. On the note was a phone number, so the resident called and left a voice message. A PG&E representative impersonator called back, asking "to set up an inspection on a certain date between specific hours."

But when the resident later called PG&E, the company informed him that no such inspection had been scheduled.

Apparently he wasn't the only target. The neighborhood blog Haighteration posted an e-mail from a woman who encountered the same scam. On the note on the door, she told the site, "They crossed out the PG&E number and asked me to call a 949 number."

While this trick seeks to exploit the often blind trust we have in our utility workers, another tries to profit off our holiday generosity. Multiple Pacific Heights residents "received a holiday card along with their delivered newspaper indirectly asking for a tip." A self-addressed envelop was included, according to SFPD.

It is, of course, customary to tip your newspaper delivery person. So much so that Googling "tip newspaper delivery" brings up pages and pages of article and message board titles such as "How to Tip a Newspaper Carrier" and "Should I be tipping the newspaper delivery person more often?" Around Christmastime, newspaper subscribers usually receive a "Happy Holidays" note inside the paper with instruction on how to tip.

One of the Pacific Heights residents called the newspaper to make sure the name on the envelope was a legit employee. Turns out it wasn't.

It's the most wonderful time of the year, but you still gotta check yo self before you wreck yo self.