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Phone scams on the rise – Fraudsters are imitating utility or government entity representatives

(August 26, 2019) – Multiple phone scams imitating utility or government entity representatives have been reported last week throughout Canada. Police advise people who receive a suspicious call to hang up, call the organization referred to in the phone call using legitimate sources such as invoices, and report the incident to the Canadian Anti Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 as well as the regional police.

Hydro Ottawa

On Wednesday, Hydro Ottawa received various reports about callers impersonating representatives of the utility company who threatened to disconnect the Hydro Ottawa customer unless they pay up to four-digit amounts. The targeted person was asked to meet at a location, where the payment was supposed to be fulfilled.

Read more: Fraudsters send out phony messages allegedly from Hydro-Québec

Hydro Ottawa warned its customers about the phone scam and declared ‘Hydro Ottawa never asks for this type of payment and never threatens to disconnect power immediately. Customers should not share any account information or make payments. Simply hang up.’ The utility provides a fraud awareness page informing on how to protect yourself from scams and fraud.

Federal charges

In the area of Collingwood and The Blue Mountains, the OPP received multiple reports on Wednesday about scam calls claiming to deliver federal charges in the name of the ‘Canadian Majesty’.

The calls are conducted by an automated voice saying: ‘Canadian Majesty calling, federal charges have been levied against your SIN number. Do not proceed to a federal building or you will be arrested. Press 1 to speak to a justice of the peace.’

The OPP advises people who are receiving similar phone calls to not press one, not provide any sort of personal information or send any payments.

Bill collection fraud

The police in Barriere received reports about fraudulent bill collection phone calls. The phone scammers in B.C. pose as representatives of business services or government organizations such as B.C. Hydro or the Canada Revenue Agency.

The phony callers describe an urgent situation based on open payments. They claim that the illustrated scenario needs instant action or those affected would face immediate penalty such as imprisonment or an immediate power disconnect. The demonstrated solution entails a direct payment via pre-paid debit cards, credit cards, gift cards, MoneyGram, Western Union or Bitcoin.

The RCMP issued the warning and recommends to contact the named business or government entity yourself instead of responding to cold calls.