‘They’re getting more and more sophisticated with technology’ Dominion Energy says con artists are targeting customers

Posted at 9:30 PM, Dec 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-20 22:54:02-05

NORFOLK, Va. - Things at Martin Florist are getting busy for Diane Talley. People want their poinsettias before Christmas.

“Most of our business is over the phone. I have a lot of loyal, steady customers,” says Talley.

That’s why she answers every single phone call.

“That it’s somebody that’s going to place an order that wants flowers, needs help and advice,” she adds.

But she got a call early this week that wasn’t from a loyal customer.

“They said Dominion Power and that I had a delinquent bill.”

She says the man on the phone threatened to shut off her power - something she says cannot happen.

“My refrigerators! My hot water! My lights.”

She continued to listen to the man on the other end of the phone.

“You can tell it was taken off something else; it’s real grainy-sounding,” Talley said.

That's when she realized it was a loyal scammer. This was the fourth time she's received a call like this; the first one was in July.

News 3 sat down with Talley and called the number back. This was the message on the other end: “We are sorry - you have reached a number that has been disconnected.”

Dominion Energy says this is a concern.

“These scam artists are hard to catch. They are tricky, and they are getting more and more sophisticated with technology,” said Bonita Billingsley Harris.

She says the holiday season is a time when these con artists start targeting their customers.

“We have gotten calls, and these scam artists try different techniques to convince you that they are legitimate and you need to pay them money,” she adds.

She says the biggest red flag is the threats.

"We will never call you and demand immediate payment.”

Talley says, “That’s the worrisome part - that someone would fall for it and that they would get away with it.”

If that happens, Dominion says to call them immediately at 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357).