As cold weather approaches, be alert and prepared for energy-related scams
As the temperature goes down, it's become normal for scammers to try and exploit fear of being unable to heat their home to trick people into sending them money that the person being scammed doesn't actually owe.
The Consumer Protection Unit (CPU) at the Norfolk Sheriff's Office received a report from a Norfolk resident using our online form about an attempt by someone claiming to represent Dominion Energy to scam the person being targeted into sending them money.
The caller, whose number came up as (757) 222-1746, stated that the person he'd called had missed two payments. The person targeted also mentioned that the caller had an accent.
Although the person reporting the scam didn't elaborate, the normal behavior of these scammers is to then threaten the target with having their service cut off. This can obviously be frightening and often leads to the person being targeted deciding to make the payment rather than risk losing their service.
Tip: ALWAYS be suspicious of callers who demand immediate payment for any reason.
The CPU wants residents in Norfolk to be aware of the proliferation of such scams, and that such an attempt had taken place.
Dominion Energy offers these tips on their website regarding scams involving their company:
Spot a scam:
Dominion Energy will never call to demand customers make immediate payment to avoid disconnection.
Dominion Energy will never ask for payment using money orders, prepaid debit or gift cards.
Dominion Energy employees will never request to enter a customer's home without proper identification, an appointment or a reported emergency. Additionally, employees do not ask for payment in person.
Outsmart a scammer:
Hang up. If you are unsure if a call is valid, even if Dominion Energy’s number shows on the caller ID, immediately hang up and never provide personal information.
Verify. You can verify your account status, balances or due dates by signing into the Dominion Energy app, checking your account online, or by calling the number located on your energy bill.
Ignore. Don’t respond to suspicious emails or text messages or click on links or attachments prompting energy bill payment.
Report. Tell local authorities about suspicious calls, texts and emails.
If you've received a call like this, please please contact the Norfolk Sheriff's Office's Consumer Protection Unit to file a report.