A telephone scam targeting BC Hydro customers is once again causing confusion and costing some victims thousands of dollars.
The scam makes targets believe a BC Hydro employee is calling about an overdue hydro bill, demanding the customer pay immediately or their power will be shut off. The scam has been making its rounds for the past several months, prompting BC Hydro to release a warning in October 2014.
According to reports, the fraudulent calls may come from a 1-800 phone number. The customer’s call display may show BC Hydro or display a legitimate BC Hydro phone number. Back in October, BC Hydro stated, “the caller demands immediate payment to avoid disconnection and suggests the customer purchase a cash gift card and call back to provide the serial number on the back of the card.”
CTV has reported that 1,200 people in B.C. have been targeted by these scammers.
BC Hydro does not collect credit card or bank account information over the phone, nor does it take payment by cash gift cards.
“If an account is in arrears, BC Hydro will send several notices through the mail asking for payment and also use an automated dialer to remind customers to make a payment before electricity supply is impacted. Customers can check their account status online through bchydro.com,” the company’s October warning states.
BC Hydro customers are asked to report these calls by calling 1-800-BC-HYDRO, their local police department and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.