Home News Durham hydro scam victims asked for personal…

July 27, 2014

Prepaid Credit Cards

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In recent cases of phone fraud across the region, citizens and businesses were not only pressed to pay phoney electricity bills, the suspects asked some for personal information as proof of their identity. Durham Police sent out a warning Friday, July 4 about the hydro scam.

It was almost like a ransom, them saying you have to pay now or your powers off, said Sergeant Bill Calder of the scam.

An investigation into the scam is ongoing, and no arrests have been made to date. Police have not been able to say how many people have fallen victim to the scam.

These kinds of scams are more common than people might want to believe, said Sgt. Calder.

Police say callers would identify themselves as electricity providers, then threaten to shut off power to homes and businesses unless bills totalling up to $1,000 were paid by credit card. If a person didnt have a credit card the callers would direct them to local convenience stores to purchase prepaid credit cards, while also encouraging downpayments of hundreds of dollars.

These kinds of scams are more common than people might want to believe, said Sgt. Calder.

Some fraudsters pretended to be with Veridian Connections, police said.

It does appear we had one customer fall prey to the scam, said Chris Mace of Veridian. Its hard to determine if there are more, unless they call our customer service centre.

While the scammers set up an answering machine and a toll-free number to appear a legitimate hydro company, Sgt. Calder advises the public to be wary and to go back to the source identified on their bills.

Always go back to your billing company, said Sgt. Calder. Get some clarity because odds are its going to be a fraud.

Some victims were asked for personal information, such as social insurance numbers.

Weve always said no one should give that information over the phone, said Sgt. Calder.

He suggests residents visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centres website, www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca, where examples of different kinds of fraud and tips for recognizing and reporting it can be found.

Police are asking anyone with similar experiences to contact the DRPS at 1-888-579-1520.


bull; The person calling claims to be a government official, tax officer, banking official, lawyer or some other person in authority.

bull; Being pressured to make a large payment immediately.

bull; Not being allowed time to check out the caller by requesting written information, address, call back number.

bull; Being asked confidential personal information.

bull; Being asked for all your confidential banking or credit card information. Unless using that specific method of payment, honest businesses do not require these details.

source: www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca

Reporter Brad Andrews covers the Municipality of Clarington for Metroland Media Group’s Durham Region Division