This article was published in April 2020 and may be outdated.
Aggressive scammers continue to target Manitoba Hydro customers throughout the province, threatening to shut off their power unless immediate payment is made.
Scammers contact customers by phone or email claiming they have an outstanding bill. They then demand payments of up to $1,500. The scammers say failure to pay within 30 minutes will result in their electrical service being disconnected.
Chris McColm, Manitoba Hydro’s Security and Investigations Supervisor, said the scammers appear to be taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re all under a lot of stress and these scammers are trying to take advantage of that,” he said. “These scammers are extremely convincing. With so many people at home, they’re preying on our anxiety and hope we let our guard down.”
McColm said Manitoba Hydro has suspended all service disconnections indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We will never phone you and demand immediate payment by a prepaid card or a money order,” he said.
McColm also said scammers falsify their caller ID information to make it appear they’re calling from Manitoba Hydro. Customers should call Manitoba Hydro at 204-480-5900 or 1-888-624-9376 if they get a call or email and are unsure if it’s authentic. Customers can also send a message to the utility’s Facebook or Twitter pages @manitobahydro.
Manitoba Hydro is a member of Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS), an alliance of more than 100 U.S. and Canadian electric, water, and natural gas companies, and their respective trade associations. UUAS works across the industry with regulators, law enforcement and telecommunications partners to raise awareness about scams targeting utility customers. Visit the Utilities United Against Scams website for more information about impostor utility scams.
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