Virginia Beach business owner nearly falls victim to convincing phone scam

Posted at 11:03 PM, Mar 29, 2019

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Countless small businesses across Hampton Roads have been targeted by scammers who are looking to cash in on a quick payday.

Ethan Blau owns Sound Wave Customs in Virginia Beach and says he almost became a victim of callers pretending to be Dominion Energy employees.

Blau got a call last Thursday and at the time, he had no idea it was a scam.

“I was kind of freaking out; it was a legitimate recording. 'Press one for power outage, press two to talk to a customer service representative,'” said Blau.

He was one of many people targeted by scammers pretending to work for Dominion Energy.

Ethan Blau

Blau says he checked his Dominion Energy account after the call - thinking there may have been a mistake -  so he wasn’t suspicious.

“I got another call Monday saying they were going to be there in an hour to cut your power off," Blau explained. “It sounded pretty legit and I finally called another number and spoke to someone [from Dominion Energy], and that’s when I found out it was a scam."

Dominion Energy says they never use aggressive threats to disconnect service, insist on immediate payment over the phone or request a prepaid card for payment.

Related: Kill Devil Hills man swindled out of more than $400 warns others

Blau called the scam number back Friday with the News 3 camera rolling.

Sure enough, another man picked up the phone asking him to make a payment.

Just like before, the scammer tells Blau a technician is on their way to cut off his power today.

The man orders Blau to put $500 on a prepaid card in order to prevent his service from being disconnected.

The entire call took less than 10 minutes. It was just long enough to convince an unsuspecting business owner to fork over their hard-earned cash.

Blau says he is thankful he didn’t hand over any money or personal information, but the experience has left him angry.

He’s warning others to be aware of any similar call.

Dominion says if you get a call like this, report it to the police.

They are working with local and federal law enforcement to stop the calls.