We’re seeing more text and phone scams reported by customers this summer – more than we saw last winter and spring.
Most customers don’t fall for it, but some do. In July, one customer paid $1,800 to a scammer at a Bitcoin machine thinking if they didn’t, their power would be cut off.
Scams can be an unsolicited text claiming a bill is due and demanding payment, or a phone call claiming power will be disconnected within 45 minutes if payment isn’t made immediately. They will often direct payments to convenience store bank machines.
Scammers also pretend to be utility providers and contact customers — often small businesses during busy hours — to claim they’re delinquent on their bills and risk disconnection if they don’t pay immediately. Imposter scammers typically ask for payment in the form of a prepaid debit card.
Scammers also rig caller ID to make it look like the call is from Manitoba Hydro, and have even mimicked our automated phone system so the recordings and prompts are like Manitoba Hydro’s.
Manitoba Hydro does make reminder phone calls to customers who are in arrears, and we request payment to prevent disconnection of service. However, we do not make last-minute threats, we do not request specific payment types like prepaid debit cards, and we do not accept payments over the phone or ask customers to wire money.
We also send reminder texts and emails to customers to remind them their bill is due, but customers must sign up for receiving alerts and notices through a Manitoba Hydro online account.
Never share your personal information online or by phone unless you’re the one who initiated the contact or transaction and you’re confident that the company or individual is trustworthy and will keep your personal information secure.
If you’ve been contacted by a suspected scammer, report it online.