Sophisticated scam targets Dominion Energy customers

A WTOP listener who is a Dominion Energy customer, said that he was almost the victim of a sophisticated phone scam, and the company said that he is not the only one who has been targeted.

The man got a call that appeared to be from the utility, warning him that he owed $2,000 and needed to pay right away over the phone.

The call was especially convincing because he was given an 800 number to call; and when he did, it sounded like Dominion’s operating menu.

One red flag: The caller had the wrong account number.

Luckily, before making a payment, the listener called Dominion’s legitimate phone number and confirmed the call he received was from a scammer.

“We’ve heard about the use of these cryptic 1-800 phone numbers for a couple of years now, and we’ve been working with local law enforcement to make sure that they’re aware of it as well,” said Dominion spokeswoman Le-Ha Anderson.

“We will never call a customer and ask them to quickly pay their bill.”

Customers with overdue bills will get multiple notices before there’s any chance of losing service, and Dominion does not accept payments over the phone.

“Anybody who receives one of these phone calls, we encourage them to call local law enforcement to report this so that we can put a stop to these scams. And then … contact Dominion Energy just to make us aware,” Anderson said.

Dominion said signs of possible scam include:

  • Aggressive threats to disconnect service, usually within an hour or less
  • Insistence on immediate payment over the phone
  • A request that a prepaid debit card or credit card be used to pay over the phone

Dominion also offers these tips to protect yourself:

  • Never buy a prepaid card to avoid a shut-off. Dominion will not insist on just one type of payment.
  • Verify what you’re being told about your account. Hang up and call Dominion or sign in to your online account to confirm whether a payment is due.
  • Collect information from the scammer, such as phone numbers or names, to help Dominion and law enforcement track the activity and spread the word to others.

Below is a video on how to spot a scam.

Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter turned morning anchor at WTOP News.

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