After a number of incidents involving fraudulent text messages over the weekend, Utilities Kingston and Kingston Hydro are warning customers to be cautious of this scam.
Over the weekend from Friday, Sept. 20 to Monday, Sept. 23, 2019, the two utilities companies received “numerous reports” from customers who had received suspicious text messages claiming to be from the utility companies.
“These texts are not from Utilities Kingston and Kingston Hydro, and are fraudulent,” Utilities Kingston said in a press release on Monday, Sept. 23, 2019.
The texts, which claim to be from Kingston Hydro, advise customers they are due a refund and provide a link through which to claim the refund.
According to Utilities Kingston:
- Utilities Kingston and Kingston Hydro do not text customers about billing, and customers should not click any links they receive.
- Refunds are applied as a credit to the customer’s utility bill. Utilities Kingston does not send customers to a web link in order to claim a refund.
- Utilities Kingston handles billing and payments (including credits) on behalf of Kingston Hydro.
Utilities Kingston urges customers who receive such text messages to do the following:
- Don’t click the link.
- Don’t respond directly to a phone number where you believe the spam text originated. Responding alerts the spammer that your number is genuine.
- Forward any spam message you might receive to the short code 7726 (SPAM) so that an investigation can be started by your cell phone provider. Put 7726 into your contact list. Reporting Spam to 7726 is free and messages don’t count toward your data or messaging usage package.
- Do not provide any personal information, including credit card or utility account numbers.
- Report the incident to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501. This agency collects information on fraud and works closely with police to solve these crimes.
- If you become a victim of fraud through monetary loss, call Kingston Police at 613-549-4660.
Additionally, Utilities Kingston is reminding customers that, if you receive a suspicious email, text or phone call, or visit at your door from someone claiming to represent Utilities Kingston, do not interact. Instead, call Utilities Kingston to let them know. A customer service representative is available Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. by calling 613-546-0000.