Hydro-Québec is warning its clients to beware of new scams that are circulating around the province, using the utility company’s name.
The alert warns of fraudsters who have been sending text messages that lead to “a fake web site with the same look and feel as Hydro-Québec’s or to an Interac e-transfer site.” In either case, the utility company advises that the message is fraudulent.
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According to Hydro-Québec, the scam is designed to look like a $500 accelerated refund will be done via e-transfer by the company.
The real refund, Bill 34 tabled by the Québec governement, will actually be applied as credit to customer’s bills in “early 2020.”
“Stay alert at all times,” reads the company’s fraud prevention page. “If you have the slightest doubt about the validity of an e-mail with the Hydro-Québec logo and colours or a text purporting to be from Hydro-Québec, do not click on any links or open any attached files.”
Hydro-Québec says phishing e-mails and texts often share the following characteristics:
- The text contains spelling mistakes and/or awkward phrasing.
- The sender refers to a fictitious problem, such as a late payment or a security breach involving your confidential information
- The sender insists on the urgent nature of the situation to make you take immediate action
- The links in the e-mail or text take you to a web page where you are asked to enter personal information (password, date of birth, social insurance number, or credit card)
Hydro-Québec has not specified how many people have been affected by the scams but reiterated that the company would never communicate with its customers through text messages.
The statement concluded by advising customers who clicked on any fake hyperlink or who provided confidential information to “contact your financial institution to close your account and report the fraud to the police.”