RICHMOND, Va., Nov. 15, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Utility scams are on the rise again in Virginia and across the country. Reports of scammers calling Dominion Energy customers threatening disconnection in exchange for immediate payment has increased by 49 percent since last year.
"Customers report that the caller ID on their phone says 'Dominion' when they are actually being contacted by a scammer," said Marc Gaudette, director-Corporate Security, Safety & Health at Dominion Energy. "They are told the power to their home or business will be cut within minutes if payment (usually via a pre-paid debit card or credit card) is not provided immediately. Customers are given a fake number to call for payment, and the recording is a copy of Dominion Energy's own phone greeting."
Dominion Energy reminds customers that it doesn't do business this way.
"We never threaten customers with immediate disconnection when they are behind on their bills," said Charlene Whitfield, vice-president-Customer Service at Dominion Energy. "We contact customers by phone or in writing multiple times to work out a payment plan before disconnection occurs. The payment plan never requires payment within an hour or less."
Dominion Energy is working with local and federal law enforcement as well as other energy companies and utilities to monitor these scams. The best defense against scams is education and awareness. This year alone, nationwide scams awareness and education has resulted in the shutdown of more than 500 bogus phone numbers.
Dominion Energy does not:
- Use aggressive threats to disconnect service (usually within an hour or less)
- Insist on immediate payment, over the phone
- Request a pre-paid card to be used for payment over the phone
But customers can protect themselves and their community by remembering:
- Never purchase a pre-paid card to avoid shut off— we will not insist on just one type of payment. You can pay in-person at a designated payment center (locations listed here) or through your online account. All payment options available are listed here.
- Verify what you're being told about your account. Hang up and call us at 866-DOM-HELP to confirm whether or not a payment is due, not any other number.
- Collect information from the scammer, such as phone numbers or names, to help us and law enforcement track and spread the word to customers.
For more information about protecting yourself against scams, visit https://www.dominionenergy.com/scams.
About Dominion Energy
Dominion Energy (NYSE:D) is one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of approximately 25,600 megawatts of generation, 15,000 miles of natural gas transmission, gathering and storage pipeline, and 6,600 miles of electric transmission lines. Dominion Energy operates one of the nation's largest natural gas storage systems with 1 trillion cubic feet of storage capacity and serves more than 6 million utility and retail energy customers. For more information about Dominion Energy, visit the company's website: www.DominionEnergy.com.
SOURCE Dominion Energy
For further information: Central: Janell Hancock, 804-771-6115, Janell.M.Hancock@dominionenergy.com; Eastern: Bonita Harris, 757-857-2700, Bonita.B.Harris@dominionenergy.com; Northern: Chuck Penn, 703-796-9308, Charles.Penn@dominionenergy.com; Western: Rayhan Daudani, 804-771-6115, Rayhan.Daudani@dominionenergy.com