Dominion Energy is reminding customers of the telltale signs of utility scams and what to do to stay safe.
In the US, one in ten adults will fall victim to a scam or fraud every year. Around 50 percent of people contacted by a scammer engage with them. Cell telephone fraud accounted for 33,466 reports and made up 10.3% of the top five.
In 2018 internet-enabled theft, fraud, and exploitation were responsible for a massive $2.7 billion in financial losses.
Dominion offers the following tips so customers know what to do if they suspect a scammer has contacted them:
- Slow down – Utility scammers pressure customers to act quickly by instilling fear and a sense of urgency.
- Stop – Dominion Energy never demands immediate payment and does not accept payment using prepaid or gift cards.
- Hang up – Some scammers may appear on your caller ID as though they are calling from Dominion Energy. When in doubt, do not provide any personal information and hang up.
- Verify – Scammers do not typically know the customer’s account balance. Fact check the scammer’s claims by signing into the Dominion Energy app, online at dominionenergy.com or by calling 866-DOM-HELP.
Four Signs Of A Scam
1. Scammers PRETEND to be from an organization you know.
Scammers often pretend to be contacting you on behalf of the government. They might use a real name, like the Social Security Administration, the IRS, or Medicare, or make up a name that sounds official. Some pretend to be from a business you know, like a utility company, a tech company, or even a charity asking for donations.
They use technology to change the phone number that appears on your caller ID. So the name and number you see might not be real.
2. Scammers say there’s a PROBLEM or a PRIZE.
They might say you’re in trouble with the government. Or you owe money. Or someone in your family had an emergency. Or that there’s a virus on your computer.
Some scammers say there’s a problem with one of your accounts and that you need to verify some information. Others will lie and say you won money in a lottery or sweepstakes but have to pay a fee to get it.
3. Scammers PRESSURE you to act immediately.
Scammers want you to act before you have time to think. If you’re on the phone, they might tell you not to hang up so you can’t check out their story.
They might threaten to arrest you, sue you, take away your driver’s or business license, or deport you. They might say your computer is about to be corrupted.
4. Scammers tell you to PAY in a specific way.
They often insist that you pay by sending money through a money transfer company or by putting money on a gift card and then giving them the number on the back. Some will send you a check (that will later turn out to be fake), tell you to deposit it, and then send them money.