Four of the province’s largest hydro providers are warning residents of a scam targeting Ontarians.
Alectra Utilities, Hydro One, Hydro Ottawa and Toronto Hydro have joined forces to warn customers of sophisticated scams targeting utility customers.
The scam involves scammers impersonating employees of the utility companies, and demanding would-be victims provide personal information, payments, or the purchase of prepaid debit cards, gift cards or bitcoin.
The scammers have been known to contact would-be victims via phone, text, email, or even showing up in person to their home or business.
They may also threaten to shut off the would-be victims’ power or gas if they refuse to acquiesce to their demands.
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However, these four companies are reminding residents that disconnection for non-payment has been suspended from November 15 to April 30 for all electricity and gas distributors in Ontario.
Additionally, in order to avoid becoming the victim of such a scam, customers are encouraged to:
- Never make a payment for a charge that isn’t listed on your most recent bill
- Ignore text messages or emails with suspicious links promising refunds
- Don’t call the number provided to you. Instead, call your utility directly to check the status of your account
- Do not provide any personal information or details about your account
- Utility companies will never threaten immediate disconnection for non-payment
- If you feel threatened in any way, contact your local police
Those who believe they may have been the victim of this scam are encouraged to contact the Canadian Anti-fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.