NORFOLK, Va. - Dominion Virginia Power says they've seen a big increase in fraudulent phone calls to customers and they are warning folks not to fall victim.
The scheme is a familiar one: a caller reaches a resident or business owner and threatens that the power will be disconnected for non-payment unless money is sent immediately.
In some cases, the callers spoof Dominion's name and phone number on the caller ID.
Dominion Virginia Power tells News 3 that looked further into the issue this year after a News 3 report showed how a Virginia Beach veterinarian received one of the calls but didn't fall victim.
Dominion reports the number of customers of have actually been duped is small, thanks in part to an aggressive public education campaign, but the number of attempts has been high.
In the past 90 days, 650 calls have been reported to Dominion, not including hang-ups or customers who haven't reported a fraudulent call.
In Hampton Roads, nearly 200 fraudulent calls have been reported from both residents and businesses.
Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Hampton and Newport News all appear to be the areas with the highest concentrations of calls.
One customer in Virginia Beach reported losing $900, while another in Yorktown lost $800.
Dominion is offering the following advice to protect against falling victim:
- Don’t fall for threats of disconnection of service in exchange for immediate payment
- Report suspicious activity to local police or call Dominion at 1-866-DOM-HELP
- Be aware that scammers prey on victims at busy and hectic times.
- For more helpful tips about how to avoid scams, please visit www.dom.com/scams.