RICHMOND, Va., Nov. 14, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Last year, scammers contacted nearly 2,800 Dominion Virginia Power customers, demanding fraudulent payments totaling more than $1.2 million. Hundreds of customers fell victim, paying nearly $200,000 in response to threats of immediate disconnection of electric service.
"While we are working in concert with law enforcement to identify, track and stop these scams, it's important for customers to recognize the red flags," said Marc Gaudette, director-Corporate Security, Safety & Health. "Unfortunately, the scammers frequently target the elderly, non-English-speaking communities and businesses during their busy times and use caller ID spoofing software so a customer thinks Dominion is calling."
"There are two clear signs that there's a scammer on the other end of that phone call that you can easily spot," said Becky Merritt, vice president, Customer Service. "First, we would never threaten a customer, even if their account is past due. Second, we would never insist on one specific, immediate form of payment—there are a number of options available to customers, including in-person at a verified payment location, secure payment through their online account, or our third-party payment processing vendor."
For a list of authorized payment locations, click here.
Utility customers across the country are being targeted. Watch a video that describes these scams and how customers can recognize them here.
Customers are reminded to do the following:
- Ask questions and verify what you are hearing by checking your online account or hanging up and then calling us at 866-DOM-HELP. If an account is overdue, we provide multiple communications in writing and offers a payment plan before disconnection occurs.
- Remember that we do not require payment over the phone and never demand immediate payment of cash, PayPal, any prepaid debit card such as 'MoneyPak/Green Dot', or any gift card to avoid disconnection. Payment by phone is available through BillMatrix at 1-800-573-1147. (Note: customers will never be contacted directly by BillMatrix requiring payment.)
- Collect information from the scammer including the caller's name, any phone numbers or other details before hanging up and reporting to local law enforcement.
For other tips about how to avoid scams, please visit www.dom.com/scams.
Dominion is one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of approximately 25,700 megawatts of generation, 12,200 miles of natural gas transmission, gathering and storage pipeline, and 6,500 miles of electric transmission lines. Dominion operates one of the nation's largest natural gas storage systems with 933 billion cubic feet of storage capacity and serves more than 5 million utility and retail energy customers in 14 states. For more information about Dominion, visit the company's website at www.dom.com.
For further information: Janell Hancock, (804) 771-6115, Janell.M.Hancock@dom.com; Bonita Harris, (757) 857-2700, Bonita.B.Harris@dom.com; Chuck Penn, (703) 796-9308, Charles.Penn@dom.com