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Toronto Hydro warning customers after spike in reported incidents of fraud
Protect yourself against scams and other fraudulent activity
TORONTO, Aug. 29, 2019 /CNW/ - Toronto Hydro customers should be aware of sophisticated scams targeting small businesses and residential customers. Make sure you know how to spot a scam and what to do if you suspect you're the target of fraudulent activity.
What you should be aware of
- Fraudsters are calling our customers – sometimes masking their numbers – and threatening to immediately disconnect power if customers don't make a payment right away. Toronto Hydro never disconnects power without first contacting customers through multiple channels and will never ask a customer to call a 1-800 number (like 1-855 or something similar) to make such a payment. Also, be aware when customers call this number, the voice message sounds very similar to what you would hear when you call Toronto Hydro
- Scammers are sending customers fake bills and personalized letters threatening disconnection unless they pay a "Smart Meter Deposit," which is not a real charge
- Some customers are receiving emails and/or text messages that appear to be from Toronto Hydro, asking they accept an electronic transfer (credit or refund) by clicking on a link. This is a scam – we never send these types of messages
- In some cases, fraudsters are approaching customers door-to-door and posing as Toronto Hydro representatives. They're pretending to inspect meters and panels, or sell and install products (like smart meters or devices to prevent power surges). Toronto Hydro never goes door-to-door to solicit sales
Protect yourself against fraudsters
Scams are constantly evolving, but learning how to spot the following red flags will help protect you against fraudsters:
- We don't threaten immediate disconnection for non-payment. Our collections process includes telephone messages and a hand-delivered notice
- We never proactively ask for payment by pre-paid card and we don't accept bitcoin
- Inaccurate account numbers are a red flag for fraud. Always compare suspicious invoices with a previous bill and note the account number and the previous amount
- Don't click on any links included in suspicious emails or text messages, as fraudsters may be attempting to access your personal information
- Toronto Hydro does not use text messages to communicate with customers about account issues
Block scammers with these tips
- Don't provide any personal or account information if contacted at the door or by phone, email or text
- Don't make any type of payment until you can confirm you're dealing with Toronto Hydro
- Don't click on any links advertising a refund or a rebate in text messages or emails as this is a tactic fraudsters use to access personal information
Reporting suspicious behaviour
Customers who suspect any type of fraud are encouraged to contact Toronto Hydro's Customer Care department at 416-542-8000, which is staffed Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., or online at torontohydro.com/reportfraud.
Customers should also report suspicious activity to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 and quote file number 844396.
For more tips on how to identify and block scammers, visit torontohydro.com/fraud.
"Understanding how to recognize fraud is the best way to protect yourself from it. With a recent spike in reported cases of fraud, we encourage Torontonians to help protect themselves – and their personal information – from getting into the hands of scammers."
- Russell Baker, Spokesperson, Toronto Hydro
"We encourage customers to understand how to recognize fraud and share this information with their friends, family and communities. Together, we can help our customers protect themselves from fraud by reporting suspicious behaviour to Toronto Hydro's Customer Care department."
- Russell Baker, Spokesperson, Toronto Hydro
ABOUT TORONTO HYDRO
Toronto Hydro owns and operates the electricity distribution system for Canada's largest city. Recognized as a Sustainable Electricity Company™ since 2014, it has approximately 774,000 customers located in the city of Toronto and distributes approximately 18% of the electricity consumed in Ontario.
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SOURCE Toronto Hydro Corporation