Kingston Police are warning local residents to be wary of scammers posing as representatives of Hydro One in the Kingston area.
According to a release from Kingston Police dated Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021, residents in Kingston and area have received calls requesting that they make a payment for overdue or delinquent accounts from people who claim to be representatives of Hydro One. Kingston Police say the scammers further threaten to cut off their hydro services if victims choose not to pay.
The scammers ask the victims to make this payment in Bitcoin or by using gift cards, police said in the release. In one recent scam, being investigated by the Kingston Police Fraud Unit, scammers, posing as representatives from Hydro One, were able to fraudulently coerce the victim into paying $5000.
This scam appears to be cyclical with the scammers targeting Kingston every few months before moving on to a different community not dissimilar to the Canadian Revenue Agency phone scams that target our community on a nearly bimonthly basis, according to the release.
Police are reminding the public that reputable companies like Hydro One would never ask for a payment to be made with Bitcoin or gift cards. Scammers are often able to spoof phone numbers so that the incoming call appears to come from a legitimate business or local area code. Police ask that members of the community inform family and friends about these ongoing phone scams.
If you question whether the call is legitimate trust your instincts and hang up, Kingston Police say. You can then visit the company’s website to obtain current contact information and reach out to their customer service department with any questions or concerns and to verify the validity of the call that you received. You can also contact Kingston Police with questions or concerns if you receive such calls.
If you have been the victim of one of these phone scams please call the Kingston Police Fraud Unit at 613-549-4660.