Fraud Alert: Hydro One Telemarketing Scam
5 November 2015
Have you received a call from a telemarketer claiming to represent Hydro One? Chances are you actually got a call from a team of scammers intent on stealing personal and financial information from unsuspecting customers.
Hydro One has become aware of a series of telephone scams preying on their customers. The telemarketers have been calling customers claiming to represent Hydro One and soliciting business, selling "energy-saving" products, asking to confirm a planned power interruption, or claiming to represent their billing or disconnection department.
These telemarketers have used several different approaches to dupe customers:
- They call claiming to be calling from Hydro One’s “disconnection department” to inform you that there was a billing error on your last bill and no payment was received. They provide you with a fraudulent telephone number and a “disconnection serial number" and ask you to go to a supermarket to make a payment in cash or by debit.
- In another scam, customers have received calls claiming that there is a planned power outage in your area. They leave a 1-800 call-back number, very similar to Hydro One's emergency line, to confirm you received the call, but the line charges $2.99 per call.
- One scam involves a telemarketer offering to pay your Hydro One bill and award a trip if you immediately pay by credit card. They ask for personal information, including billing information and proceed to rack up debt in your name.
- Someone claiming to be from Hydro One, representative from the government or independent companies, calls selling a device that can be attached to your meter (including smart meters) to reduce electricity costs. The seller asks you for personal information, including billing information and buying habits and later you find a bunch of bills in your name.
Currently, there are no leads on who may be behind the calls, but protecting yourself is possible simply by being extremely cautious of anyone who calls you and asks for sensitive information. Remember most companies will never ask you for your credit card number over the phone, unless you called them to purchase something. In fact, Hydro One urges customers to remember that they will never call them using telemarketers, never use toll-for-service numbers, and never sell products over the phone.
If you do end up giving out personal information to the wrong people or received a call and what the matter investigated, contact your local police to file a report. You can also report the telephone call to The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1 (888) 495-8501 or www.antifraudcentre.ca.