WINNIPEG — Manitoba Hydro says they have seen a spike in the number of scams targeting customers this year.
The public utility says scammers are using high-pressure techniques to threaten someone that their electric service will be disconnected until an immediate payment is made.
“These people are crooks and you should hang up on them,” said Chris McColm, Manitoba Hydro’s security and investigations supervisor.
“We will never phone you and demand immediate payment by a prepaid card or a money order.”
According to Hydro, the Crown corporation saw a nearly 300 percent jump in the number of fraud-related complaints this year from the year before — 862 phone, text and e-mail scams as of October 31 from 221 in 2017.
Hydro says the rise in reported scams is being contributed to small business owners being targeted by fraudsters.
Hydro says, in some cases, scammers may say the customer is owed a refund on their bill and request bank information to make a deposit.
“Never give out personal account information, including debit or credit card information, over the phone or in a text or email,” McColm added.
McColm also said seniors living alone continue to be targeted by aggressive door-to-door sales, adding Hydro employees always display Manitoba Hydro photo ID and will never demand to come into a home.
If you’re unsure whether the phone call, text or email is real or a scam, contact Manitoba Hydro at 1-888-624-9376.