BC Hydro scam targeting local businesses

Scammer claims to be on his way to businesses to cut the power unless payment is made

The Ashcroft RCMP are warning business owners in the region of a scam involving bogus calls from someone claiming to be from BC Hydro.

Sgt. Kathleen Fitzgerald, Ashcroft detachment commander, says that at least three businesses—one in Ashcroft and two in Cache Creek—have received calls. In each instance, the business is told that the caller is a BC Hydro technician who is on his way to the business to turn off the power, as the account is in arrears. Businesses are then asked for a credit card number so that the “arrears” can be paid off.

Fitzgerald says that the caller has answers for everything. “They’ll be very polite. Even if you have direct pay, they have an answer for that. They’ll say that payments can go in the wrong account by mistake, and that it shows on their system that there’s no payment. They’ll say that they need payment, and that they can credit you [if there’s a mistake].”

When one local business person called back to the number he had been given, it connected with a restaurant in Langley that had received a similar call last month. “The caller mirrors phone numbers so you can’t trace them back,” explains Fitzgerald. She says that if anyone gets a phone call claiming to come from BC Hydro, they should in turn call the number on their Hydro bill to verify the call.

“BC Hydro does not phone and threaten in this manner,” says Fitzgerald. “Don’t give personal information over the phone if you are not 100 per cent certain who you are speaking to. Take a number from the person and phone them back once you confirm that they are who they say they are.

“If they are unwilling to do this, then they are likely not who they say they are.”


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