NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – A Norfolk business owner contacted 10 On Your Side after he said he almost fell for a phone scam.
Thomas Glaser, owner of Platinum Salon of Norfolk, said he got a call from someone who claimed to be with Dominion Virginia Power and threatened to cut off electricity if Glaser did not pay $1,000 for an overdue bill.
“They stated adamantly that I owed the money; it wasn’t a mistake. I said, ‘I know I just paid the bill not even a week ago, so it’s got to be a mistake.’ They said, ‘pay for now, and if we find we are at fault, we will just credit your account.’ They said to go to CVS or Walgreens and get a MoneyPak card, and put it on the card. Come back home, there’s a scratch off in the back, give them the number and they’ll make the payment that way,” Glaser said.
Glaser said he looked into the pre-paid MoneyPak cards and learned several others had gotten the same call, including two nearby businesses. Dominion Power said it’s a common scam targeting businesses and the elderly. The company said Dominion employees never ask for specific payment information over the phone and customers can call 866-DOM-HELP to report any suspicious calls.
Even though Glaser didn’t fall for it, he said he’ll be more careful when he answers the phone.
“It’s upsetting, because luckily I was able to figure out that it was a scam,” he said. “My problem is there’s so many people out there that they’re ripping off and it’s just not fair. Money’s tight for everybody and especially when they target the elderly, it’s not the right thing to do.”
Norfolk Police spokeswoman Karen Parker-Chesson said citizens or business owners should report any incidents of scams to Police, so that they can be investigated. Those who believe they may have been scammed can contact the Economic Crimes Unit at 757-664-7085.
The MoneyPak website lists a number of tips to avoid common scams:
- Never give your MoneyPak number to someone you don’t know.
- Never give receipt information about your MoneyPak purchase to another party.
- Use your MoneyPak only to reload your prepaid cards or accounts you control.
- Refuse any offer that asks you to buy a MoneyPak and share the number or receipt information by email or phone.