The busy holiday season is prime time for scammers looking to take advantage of unsuspecting victims.
In response to increased fraudulent activity across Ontario, Alectra Utilities, Hydro One and Toronto Hydro are joining forces to increase awareness about ongoing sophisticated scams targeting utility customers.
Some common tactics fraudsters use include the impersonation of the local utility or its employees, sending threatening phone calls, texts, emails or showing up in-person at a customer’s home or business and requesting personal information. The requests can include pressure for immediate cash payment, threats to disconnect service the same day, and even demands to purchase prepaid debit cards, gift cards or Bitcoin.
The utilities are encouraging customers to protect themselves and remind them of the following tips to stay safe:
- 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
If you believe you may be a victim of fraud, please contact the Canadian Anti-fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 and your local utility. Customers can find more information at: