BC Hydro has issued a warning about an increase in scams that are targeting customers, and says that these scams are growing increasingly sophisticated.
Since announcing COVID-19 relief plans at the beginning of April, BC Hydro has received more than 500 reported incidents of attempted scams aimed at its customers; an increase of 350 per cent over March 2020.
Two types of scams are being reported. In a phone and email scam doing the rounds, fraudsters pose as a BC Hydro representative and threaten the customer with disconnection because of an overdue bill.
Customers are given a 1-877 number and told to call it to make a payment. The number connects to a replica of BC Hydro’s phone system, and the caller is asked to purchase pre-paid gift cards or deposit money into a Bitcoin ATM wallet in order to avoid having their power disconnected.
In the other scam, customers receive a text message that appears to come from BC Hydro, and informs them that they are eligible for a refund. The customer is told they need to click on a link in order to provide their banking information so that the “refund” can be deposited.
BC Hydro wants customers to know that it has suspended all disconnections for non-payment during the COVID-19 pandemic, so they will not be contacting customers about overdue bills. It does not collect credit card or bank account information over the phone, by email, or by text, and it does not accept payment via Bitcoin or through pre-paid gift or credit cards. BC Hydro also does not offer refunds or credits through Interac e-transfers.
If you have received a communication-by email, text, or phone call that appears to come from BC Hydro, and you suspect it is a scam, call BC Hydro at 1-800-BCHYDRO (1-800-224-9376) or go online to check your www.MyHydro account.