Phone scam has been targeting business customers for almost two years
TORONTO, March 11, 2016 /CNW/ - March is National Fraud Prevention Month, and Toronto Hydro is warning customers of an ongoing phone scam targeting mostly small business owners, especially in the food industry.
For almost two years, businesses have been receiving calls from fraudsters calling from phone numbers that look legitimate. The fraudsters claim to be "Toronto Hydro Billing and Collection Process." They demand payment and threaten to disconnect power, usually in the form of a pre-paid card, which can be purchased from places like a post office or gas station.
We're working with authorities to help catch the fraudsters and want our customers to know about this scam. We never ask for this type of payment and never threaten to disconnect power immediately. To avoid being duped, follow these tips:
- Don't provide any personal or account information if contacted over the phone
- Don't make any type of payment – simply hang up
- Contact Toronto Hydro's Customer Care department at 416-542-8000 if you suspect any type of fraud
- Report suspicious calls to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 and quote file number 844396
- From July 2014 to January 2016, there have been 553 incidents of fraud reported to Toronto Hydro
- Approximately 80% of affected customers have been small businesses
- Approximately $62,500 has been paid out as part of this scam
- Toronto Hydro's collection process includes telephone messages, and a hand delivered notice prior to electricity disconnection
"We've taken many steps to protect our customers, including posting alerts about fraud online and contacting business customers directly. We're taking advantage of Fraud Prevention Month to spread the message again and help put a stop to any future instances of fraud."
- Tori Gass, Spokesperson, Toronto Hydro
ABOUT TORONTO HYDRO
Toronto Hydro owns and operates an electricity distribution system, which delivers electricity to approximately 756,000 customers located in the city of Toronto. It is the largest municipal electricity distribution company in Canada and distributes approximately 19% of the electricity consumed in the province of Ontario.
SOURCE Toronto Hydro Corporation
Image with caption: "Toronto Hydro warns about phone scam targeting small businesses. (CNW Group/Toronto Hydro Corporation)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20160311_C1277_PHOTO_EN_640993.jpg