NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A restaurant owner in North Charleston learned an expensive lesson when she became the latest victim of an ongoing scam impersonating Dominion Energy.
Jennifer Conlon runs Amici’s Italian Bistro in North Charleston. She says a phone call during the dinner rush over the weekend changed her night.
“Got an automated phone call on my business phone saying it was Dominion and that within 30 minutes my power would be going down for non-payment,” Conlon said.
The message included an after-hours line to call with questions and Conlon had plenty.
“When I questioned him about it, I knew I wasn’t due yet, he said Dominion had changed their billing cycle and that I must not have gotten an email about it,” Conlon said.
Conlon says the caller had her account number and the balance due. He told her she needed to make a payment over the phone and was told a credit card wouldn’t work.
“They said it would take 24 hours for it to be processed and by that time I would probably lose my power.”
The supposed Dominion agent told Conlon she could pay $1,100 by money card.
“I started to question it but then I look out and I see a restaurant full of people so I panicked,” Conlon said.
She bought the cards, gave the numbers, and even got a confirmation number for her transaction. She was told to call Dominion Energy on Monday to make sure her account was credited. When she called, Dominion had no record of her transaction and she knew she’d been scammed.
In a statement from Dominion Energy, the power company says:
The power company investigates each case like Conlon’s and also has these suggestions to avoid utility scams like this.
Dominion Energy will never:
- Threaten to turn off your service immediately.
- Insist on payment over the phone.
- Ask you to pay with a gift card.
If you think you've been a victim of this scam, you can contact Dominion Energy customer service at 800-251-7234. You can also report the scam at FTC.gov/complaint.
If you have a scam story to share, email Kyle Jordan at Scams@live5news.com.