Dominion Virginia Power Warns Customers About Scammers Demanding Immediate Payment Of Utility Bills

Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:11pm EST

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- Scammers claim to be Dominion employees, threaten to cut off power unless paid
immediately
RICHMOND, Va.,  Jan. 10, 2013  /PRNewswire/ -- Dominion  Virginia Power  is
warning its customers about a scam involving phone calls from a person claiming
to be a company employee, demanding immediate payment of utility bills. The
caller claims electric service will be cut off unless the bill is paid within a
matter of hours, usually by using a pre-paid debit card such as a "Green Dot
card."  

The caller also may claim that a problem with an electric meter could result in
a fire if not immediately replaced, offering reimbursement from Dominion at a
later date if payment is made now.

Dominion may phone customers whose bills are in arrears to remind them payment
is due, but never asks for specific payment information -- only directing
customers how to make a payment. The company encourages anyone who is improperly
contacted about making a payment over the phone to call  1-866-DOM-HELP  and
local law enforcement officials. In addition, customers should ask to see an
official Dominion ID from anyone who comes to their residence and claims to be
from the company.  

"We hope this warning will be heeded and shared so that other customers can
avoid traps like this," said  Gianna Clark, vice president of customer service
operations. "Scams are always troubling, particularly in these difficult
economic times."

The scammers have been targeting Spanish-speaking customers, the elderly and
businesses throughout Virginia, but all customers should be aware of the
possibility of being scammed. If you have questions or concerns about a phone
call from someone claiming to be a Dominion employee, report the suspicious
activity to Dominion by calling  1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357).

The  Better Business Bureau  provides these tips to avoid falling for a 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.

Dominion (NYSE: D) is one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of
energy, with a portfolio of approximately 27,400 megawatts of generation and
6,300 miles of electric transmission lines.  Dominion serves retail energy
customers in 15 states. For more information about Dominion, visit the company's
website at  www.dom.com.  

Follow us on Twitter  at:  http://www.twitter.com/DomVAPower.
'Like' us on Facebook  at  www.facebook.com/dominionvirginiapower

SOURCE  Dominion Virginia Power


Media, Karl Neddenien, +1-804-771-6115, Karl.R.Neddenien@dom.com, Le-Ha
Anderson, +1-703-796-9308, le-ha.anderson@dom.com, Bonita Harris,
+1-757-857-2700, bonita.b.harris@dom.com
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