COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - This week is considered the time to better understand your consumer rights, and learn ways to improve your spending habits for National Consumer Protection Week. Some state officials are also taking this time to warn consumers about the continued problem of scams.
Consumer Affairs is reporting that in the month of January, there were about 60 scams reported and that South Carolinians lost more than $22,000 due to scams.
Officials say it’s important that you always report any incident of a scam to South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs, even if you don’t lose any money.
Dominion Energy says their customer contact centers are getting repeated complaints about scams. It’s an issue WIS-TV first reported on back in October.
One Dominion representative says just this year, they’ve already received nearly 1,5000 complaints, and that more than 60% of those were made in the first week of February, over a two-day period.
Ashley Cunningham is a public affairs specialist with Dominion Energy.
“We still continue to receive reports from our customers of these fraudsters who are calling and asking them for their personal information, demanding immediate payment, spoofing our phone to make it look like it’s a legitimate phone call from Dominion Energy when it’s not," Cunningham says.
"If you receive a phone call and it doesn’t feel right, something about it just seems off, hang up. Don’t provide your personal information to that caller.”
If you receive a call like this and are unsure, Cunningham says Dominion Energy will never contact our customers to threaten to disconnect electric or natural gas service if they don’t pay immediately.
"We will never contact them to ask them to provide personal information such as a social security number, debit and credit card numbers and we will never ask a customer to go out and purchase anything like a prepaid credit card to produce those numbers over the phone. That’s just not how Dominion Energy conducts business.”
Customers are encouraged to verify their account information online or through the mobile app to help determine if the call is a scam.
Dominion Energy says that it’s not unusual for these types of scams to go up around the holidays, but they say it’s unusual for this problem to continue into the year at this rate.
By reporting incidents of scams to the South Carolina Department of Consumer of Affairs, you help them stay up-to-date on the various types of scams circulating and can also help to prevent others from falling victim to repeated scams. For information on how to report incidents of scams to the SCDCA, click here.
If you have become a victim of a scam, and perhaps lost money, Cunningham says you should contact your local authorities and make a police report.