RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Dominion Energy is warning their customers after a recent increase in phone scams.
The scammer will call customers pretending to be Dominion and threatening disconnection in exchange for immediate payment.
As of November, 2,678 customers reported that they received a fraudulent telephone call attempting to collect a debt. Collectively, the fraudulent callers attempted to gain $782,314, but were only able to obtain $120,425 by fraudulent means.
The company said that 525 people in the Richmond area were contacted by the scammers.
In all, the recent uptick represents a 49 percent increase in fraudulent phone calls attempting collection in just the past year.
Dominion says they are now working with local and federal law enforcement as well as other energy companies and utilities to monitor these scams.
Dominion urges their customers to never purchase a pre-paid card to avoid shut off, to verify what they’re being told about their account through a secondary source and collect information from the scammer, such as phone numbers or names.
“We never threaten customers with immediate disconnection when they are behind on their bills,” Charlene Whitfield, vice-president-Customer Service at Dominion Energy said. “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.”