I would like to advise residents to be aware of potential activities in the community involving salespeople impersonating staff from various utilities in Ontario, including Hydro One, to sell alleged “energy-saving devices”.
Hydro One has provided the following information on their website in regards to protecting yourself from telemarketing and/or door-to-door sales scams:
- Hydro One has been notified of a new scam where an individual, claiming to be a Hydro One employee, is calling customers advising them their account is in arrears. They advise that immediate action is required, requesting that the customer purchases prepaid debit cards from a specific website and provides them with the PIN number. This is not Hydro One procedure so you will never be requested to purchase prepaid debit cards in order to make payment on your account.
- Individuals have been sending the public counterfeit cheques that appear payable by Hydro One Telecom. The senders typically build a relationship with recipients, ask them to cash the cheque and then to wire transfer the money. If the money is wire transferred before the counterfeit cheque is rejected by the bank, the victim is left at a financial loss. In other incidents, cheques have been sporadically mailed to individuals. Always remember if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
- Individuals claiming to be calling from Hydro One’s “disconnection department” informing you that there was a billing error on your last invoice and no payment was received. They then ask you to go to a supermarket and make a payment in cash or by debit, providing a fraudulent telephone number and a “disconnection serial number.” Customers are advised not to provide any personal or financial information and to report these calls to police.
- Individuals claiming to be calling from Hydro One, informing you of a planned power outage, with a 1-800 call-back number to confirm. The call-back number is very similar to Hydro One’s Emergency Line and charges $2.99 per call.
- Individuals offering to pay the customer’s Hydro One bill and award a trip if they immediately pay by credit card. These individuals ask for personal information, including billing information. This is well-known fraudulent activity. Customers are advised not to provide any personal information and to report these calls to police if they wish the matter be investigated.
- Individuals claiming to be calling from Hydro One, representative from the government or independent companies selling a device that can be attached to a meter (including smart meter) to reduce electricity costs. Customers should immediately report these fraudulent callers to police.
- The sellers ask for personal information, including billing information and buying habits; Hydro One does not sell or endorse these types of products.
As an additional precaution, my office reached out to Hydro Ottawa this past week to ensure that their staff was not, in fact, phoning or making door-to-door sales calls and we received the following response:
Residents have shared that salespeople are going door-to-door, claiming to offer a rebate on hydro. These individuals are not Hydro Ottawa representatives. Hydro Ottawa advises that its employees always carry identification, and will gladly show it upon request.
For questions related to your Hydro Ottawa account, please contact 613-738-6400 or visit www.hydroottawa.com.
For more information on common scams provided by Ottawa Police, please click here. Be safe, residents.