VANCOUVER, B.C. – BC Hydro is warning customers that it has seen an increase in reported scams in April 2020 compared to March 2020.
According to BC Hydro, since announcing its COVID-19 Relief Fund on April 1, BC Hydro has had over 500 reported incidents of attempted scams targeting its customers. These scams are increasing in sophistication, which is of concern.
BC Hydro is aware of two types of scams, and shares as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, BC Hydro has suspended all disconnections for non-payment and is asking customers to remain vigilant and aware of the nature of these ongoing scams.
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The two types of scams currently being reported are;
- Phone and email scam – Customers receive automated calls or fake bill notification emails from fraudsters posing as BC Hydro employees, threatening disconnection for an overdue bill. Customers are asked to call a 1-877 number to make a payment, and the number connects to a replica of BC Hydro’s phone system. Fraudsters then ask the customer to purchase pre-paid credit cards or deposit money into a bitcoin ATM wallet to avoid disconnection.
- Phishing scam – Customers receive a text message that appears to be from BC Hydro, indicating that they are eligible for a refund. Customers are directed to click a link to submit their banking information for deposit.
BC Hydro wants customers to know the following to avoid falling victim to these scams;
- It has suspended all disconnections for non-payment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- It does not collect credit card or bank account information over the phone, by email or text.
- It does not accept payment from pre-paid cash or credit cards or bitcoin ATM.
- It does not offer refunds or credits through Interac e-transfer.
If a customer doubts the authenticity of an email, text, or phone call, they should call BC Hydro at 1 800 BCHYDRO (1 800 224 9376) or check their MyHydro account. Customers are also encouraged to report suspected fraud to their local police department.