HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) - Officials with Dominion Virginia Power are warning customers of a potential scam where a caller will demand immediate payment of bills.
Someone claiming to be with the company is targeting Spanish-speaking customers, the elderly and businesses throughout Virginia, claiming the electric service will be cut off if the bill is not paid in a matter of hours, usually by a pre-paid debit card.
The scammer is also claiming a problem with an electric meter could cause a fire and the company will reimburse the customer if they pay right away.
While Dominion will call those with overdue bills, the company never asks for specific payment information and only tells customers how to pay.
Anyone who receives a similar phone call or any suspicious phone calls should call Dominion at 1-866-DOM-HELP and local law enforcement.
Use the following from the Better Business Bureau to avoid becoming a victim of any scam:
- Do your research. If you receive a call claiming to be from your utility company and feel pressured for immediate payment or personal information, hang up the phone and call the customer service number on your utility bill. For Dominion customers, that number is 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357).
- Beware of giving personal information over the phone. Never provide your Social Security number, credit card number or banking information to anyone requesting it over the phone or at your home unless you initiated the contact and feel confident about the person with whom you are speaking.
- Use your own personal information. Always pay your bills with your own personal information; never pay your bills with information that is not your own.
- Beware of the door-to-door sales approach. Never allow anyone into your home to check electrical wiring, natural gas pipes or appliances unless you have scheduled an appointment or have reported a utility problem. Also, ask utility employees for proper identification.
- Be proactive. If you have already provided information to someone claiming to offer this service, contact your bank immediately. Also contact the three national credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – and have a notation made on your account so it doesn't impact your credit rating.
- Inform others. Share this information with friends and family so they do not become victims. Elderly victims are common in this type of scam, but anyone who pays a utility bill is a potential target.
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