Beware of utility scams, Dominion warns

Published 8:00 am Thursday, December 8, 2022

On Monday, Dec. 5, the temperature dropped down below freezing in Victoria. It wasn’t much warmer on Tuesday, requiring residents to either throw another log on the fire or turn up the thermostat. Unfortunately, it’s exactly in these situations when con artists pop up.

Dominion Energy issued a statement earlier this week, asking residents to be cautious of utility scams in the coming days.

Dominion Energy has over 7 million customers across 15 states providing energy to homes and businesses. With its experience, the company has put together five signs to help customers know when they are talking to a real Dominion employee and when they are getting scammed.

“Even if the caller ID says Dominion Energy, our customers should be on alert about demands for immediate payment and threats of service disconnection,” said Utibe Bassey, Dominion Energy’s vice president of customer experience. “That is not how we do business. When any warning sign is present, hang up. Never share personal information.”

First, Dominion Energy does not threaten to disconnect a customer’s service if they do not make their payment immediately, nor will they demand payment with a credit or debit card by phone or ask for a wire transfer, send a money order or buy a prepaid gift card to pay the utility bill. Customers should also remember that scammers are not always aggressive and threatening and may try to earn trust by being sympathetic and personable.

These scammers like to target small businesses, like restaurants, during peak hours to threaten service disconnection and instill fear and urgency. Also, customers should be aware and not allow those claiming to be with Dominion Energy in their homes without proper identification, an appointment or a reported emergency. Employees will also never ask for payment in person.

In the case that someone receives a suspicious call that might be a scam, Dominion has three suggestions to help customers stay safe.

First, customers should hang up the phone and not provide any personal information. Customers can also double-check to make sure it is a real employee they are talking to on the phone. According to Dominion Energy, scammers do not typically know a customer’s account balance. Customers can verify their account balance and payment due date online or on the Dominion Energy app.

Lastly, customers are encouraged to seek help. Those facing financial hardships can connect with the company with any payment concerns.

For more scam prevention tips, visit dominionenergy.com/our-stories/scammers-and-personal-safety.