That’s the message Dominion Virginia Power wants Northern Virginians to get.
Scammers have been calling residential and small business customers, threatening to disconnect electrical service immediately if payment is not made.
Dominion stresses that it does not take payment over the phone and would never ask for immediate payment of cash, PayPal, ‘MoneyPak/Green Dot’ or any prepaid debit card as a prerequisite to keeping service, as the scammers have been doing.
“Protecting our customers is top priority for Dominion,” Dan Jenkins, Dominion’s Director-Corporate Security, Safety and Health, said in a statement. “We continue to work with local law enforcement to identify and monitor these scams and alert our customers to keep them safe. Small businesses and restaurants are frequently a target here and across the country, but they can protect themselves.”
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said scammers are using “increasingly sophisticated methods to trick citizens, including caller ID technology that makes it appear as though calls are coming from the utility, even instructing customers to make payment at company offices in order to sound legitimate.”
“Consumers need to remember that a legitimate business will not operate this way,” he said.
Being aware is the first step to protecting oneself from becoming a victim. Customers are urged to remember:
Stay calm. Scammers may contact businesses during a hectic or busy time to catch them off guard.
Dominion Virginia Power will never ask for payment over the phone or require payment on a pre-paid debit card.
Dominion does not direct customers to make payment at any of their offices; designated payment centers can be found online.
If a customer is behind on the bill, Dominion typically sets up a payment plan mutually agreed upon and provides a customer with multiple notifications in writing before power is scheduled to be disconnected.
If a customer is suspicious, they are encouraged to collect information from the scammer such as his/her name, any phone numbers or other details before hanging up and reporting to local law enforcement.
Customers should always call Dominion at 866-DOM-HELP to verify that the company is attempting to reach them before releasing any personal information.