March 5, 2018 (Courtesy of CNW) – March is Fraud Prevention Month, and Toronto Hydro is reminding customers to be on their guard, as there are currently several scams in operation.
Since October, we’ve received 450 reports of fraudulent activity from our customers involving text messages, emails and threatening phone calls.
The emails and/or text messages appear to be from Toronto Hydro, and ask customers to accept an electronic transfer (credit or refund) by clicking on a link. We never send these types of emails/text messages. This is a common phishing scam, and we advise customers not to click on any links, as fraudsters are attempting to access personal information.
Another scam that has been targeting small business customers uses fake bills — along with a personalized letter — that are sent through email or in some instances, fax. The scammers demand payment of $400 for a Smart Meter Deposit — which is not a legitimate charge — or power will be disconnected. After receiving a letter, customers have also been contacted by phone. To help guard against becoming a victim of this fraud, customers should know their account number, and if they’re suspicious of a bill, refer to a past invoice for comparison.
We also want to remind customers of an ongoing phone scam that’s been operating for several years. Customers have received calls from phone numbers that look legitimate, with fraudsters claiming to be “Toronto Hydro Billing and Collection Process.” These fraudsters demand payment, usually in the form of a pre-paid card. We never ask for this type of payment and never threaten to disconnect power immediately.
To protect themselves, our customers should follow these tips:
- Don’t provide any personal or account information if contacted by phone, email or text
- Don’t make any type of payment until you can confirm you’re dealing with Toronto Hydro
- Contact Toronto Hydro’s Customer Care department at 416-542-8000 if you suspect any type of fraud
- Report suspicious activity to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 and quote file number 844396
Deborah McCoy – Is an investigative journalist and has over 17 years of investigation experience in both the private and public business sectors. Since joining CFN, Ms. McCoy has become a true advocate for victims of fraud and increasing the public’s awareness in fraud prevention.