BC Hydro customers across the province were out nearly $45,000 combined in 2018 from fraudsters. This means people posing as BC Hydro employees were 50% more successful in their attempts to steal money in 2018 than the year prior.
Nearly 6,000 reports have been sent to BC Hydro since scams started to gain momentum in 2014 and more than 2,000, the highest amount for one year, happened in 2018.
2018 was a record year for scams attempting to defraud our customers. Info bulletin: https://t.co/XfiCMGK2En pic.twitter.com/vcw44tBbiu
— BC Hydro (@bchydro) January 18, 2019
BC Hydro has released information it wants customers to be aware of to avoid being scammed. It includes:
- It does not collect credit card or bank account information over the phone or by email or text. and it does not accept payment from pre-paid cash or credit cards, or bitcoin;
- If an account is in arrears, BC Hydro will send several notices by mail and use an auto dialer to remind customers to make a payment. Customers can also check their account status at any time at their website; and
- If a customer doubts the authenticity of the call, they should hang up and call BC Hydro immediately at 1-800-BCHYDRO
Reported scams involved customers being contacted by phone, email, or text, with fraudsters threatening to immediately disconnect if a payment is not received.
“What we’re finding is that businesses are often targeted and they can be targeted at busy times of the day when a shop owner doesn’t have time to really think about things because there is a lot of customers in the store and the scammers seem to know when that sensitive time is,” Northern Spokesperson Bob Gammer added.
BC Hydro has provided an audio example of a scam being sent to customers.