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Toronto Hydro warns customers of increased phone scam activity

TORONTO, March 18, 2021 /CNW/ - In response to an increase in fraudulent activity, Toronto Hydro encourages small business and residential customers to be alert for ongoing, sophisticated scams.

The phone scam involves customers receiving a call from a fraudster – who usually masks their number – threatening to immediately disconnect power if the customer doesn'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.

If you get a call requesting immediate payment and threatening disconnection, hang up and call the number found on your bill.

Protect yourself against fraudsters

Scams are constantly evolving, but learning how to spot the red flags will help protect you against fraudsters:

  • Avoid reacting automatically. Take five minutes to ask additional questions and listen to your instincts. If something doesn't seem right, ask someone else about it
  • 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 bill amount
  • Don't click on any links included in suspicious emails or text messages, as fraudsters may be attempting to access your personal information
  • We don't use text messages to communicate with customers about account issues
  • Download our fraud prevention tip sheet, now available in seven languages

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 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 fraudulent activity are encouraged to report it to Toronto Hydro by contacting our Customer Care department at 416-542-8000, staffed Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., or by completing our brief online form at torontohydro.com/reportfraud. Customers should also report suspicious activity to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.

Visit torontohydro.com/fraud for more tips on how to identify and block scammers.

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 782,000 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