HAMPTON, Va. — Scammers are targeting utility customers during the coronavirus pandemic.
Shelly Jackson, a Hampton man, lost hundreds of dollars after falling for a phone scam he thought was legitimate.
It all started with an automated voicemail that appeared to be from Dominion Energy. It said his power would be disconnected that same day due to a non-payment.
When Jackson listened to the voicemail, he called the local number back.
“It seemed pretty legit,” said Jackson.
“They told me my account was up to date and current, but that I was subject to disconnection because I needed to pay a deposit for a meter replacement.”
The scammers asked Jackson to go to the store and get prepaid cards to make the payment that same day.
They threatened to shut off his power if he didn’t pay them.
“The kids are home right now, the last thing you need is for the power to go out,” said Jackson.
Jackson did what the scammers asked him to do and paid them a total of $400.
The scammers even told him a service technician would go to his house to replace a meter that same day.
No one showed up.
That’s when Jackson called Dominion Energy's actual phone number and explained his situation to a real Dominion Energy representative.
Jackson said the representative told him he was scammed.
He couldn’t believe he fell for it.
“This one was so sophisticated and coordinated by multiple people, multiple phone numbers, some level of my information that they had, there was a lot of work put into this,” said Jackson.
Here’s what you should know:
Dominion Energy will never call you to demand an immediate payment or call to threaten to cut off your power.
Dominion Energy spokesperson Bonita Harris said the company will not disconnect anyone’s service during the coronavirus pandemic.
If you get a call about any of these threats, it’s a scam. Hang up, then call Dominion Energy right away. The company has a list of personal safety tips on its website.
“I’ll never get that money back, it’s a $400 lesson,” said Jackson.
Jackson decided to share his story in hopes of helping others avoid falling for the scam.