Norfolk restaurants targeted by scammers

Posted at 5:50 PM, Feb 27, 2014
and last updated 2014-02-27 17:50:30-05

Norfolk, Va. (WTKR) – A Norfolk restaurant owner says a scammer posing as a  Dominion Virginia Power representative threatened to shut off the electricity immediately if he didn’t send a money-order.

Phil Decker, owner of D’Egg Downtown and D’Egg West, says the scammer called both of his restaurants Wednesday morning with the same threat.

“I get a call from what sounded like a pretty legit source – it sounded like it was Virginia Power, and they were getting ready to cut my power off – they said I had a delinquent bill,” Decker said.

Decker says the man on the other end of the phone sounded very polished and convincing.

“It’s obviously a rampant scam that they have running and I just feel like I’m a pretty sensible guy and I check everything pretty thoroughly and I was ready to go pay the bill,” Decker stated.

However, it was how the man demanded the bill be paid that tipped Decker off something wasn't right.

“He wanted me to have me pay at the CVS and get a money order,” Decker remembers.

That’s when Decker hung up the phone and found a legitimate phone number for Dominion Virginia Power.

“Obviously you don’t want the doors to shut down on you, so after calling my bookkeeper, my accountant and everyone else and waiting 30 minutes on the line with Dominion Power, I found out that I had paid the bill and ‘Don’t worry about it – this is a scam that’s been going on,’” Decker told NewsChannel 3’s Todd Corillo.

Bonita Harris, a spokeswoman for Dominion Virginia Power, says unfortunately, scammers targeting Dominion customers isn't new.

Harris says since November 2012, Dominion’s Corporate Security has been investigating cases where people get phone calls from someone claiming to be a Dominion Virginia Power representative.

The fake representatives tell the customer to make an immediate payment on their electric bill or be discontinued.

Harris says anyone who calls, texts or emails claiming to be a Dominion representative asking for personal information could be a scammer. In those cases, customers should hang up and report the suspicious activity to Dominion at 1-866-DOM-HELP.

Decker considers himself lucky to have not fallen for the scam.

“It’s a pretty good scam that they have and thank God they didn’t get me,” he said.

He hopes his story will serve as a warning for others.

“Imagine if they do that 100 times, somebody is going to bite,” Decker said.