Utilities Kingston shares tips during Fraud Protection Month

Utilities Kingston. Photo by Lucas Mulder/Kingstonist.

March is Fraud Prevention Month and Utilities Kingston is hoping to help protect residents and businesses from utility scams.

“Our public education program reminds our community: utility customers are targets for scams at the door, over the phone and through the internet. When in doubt, don’t be afraid to shut the door, hang up the phone, delete the email or close your internet connection,” cautioned Kevin McCauley, Director of Customer Care, Utilities Kingston. “You can always call us to confirm the truth of any sales pitch.”

According to a media release from Utilities Kingston, utility companies across Canada are reporting an increase in callers posing as utility representatives and demanding immediate payment for utilities. Utilities Kingston said that it uses its social media channels to help the public stay up to date on known scams.

“Customers are reportedly receiving phone calls from scammers using a variety of different numbers,” the utility company noted. “Those contacted are being threatened with having their utility services disconnected if they do not make a payment.”

Anyone who receives a message, text or phone call from someone posing as a utility representative and threatening to disconnect your utility services, is asked by Utilities Kingston to not respond to it. Instead, contact your utility company directly. Utilities Kingston customers can call 613-546-0000, Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

In the release, Utilities Kingston provided the following guidance and reminders:

If you receive a suspicious call:

  • Do not provide any personal information, including Utilities Kingston or credit card account numbers.
  • Collect any information possible about the caller.
  • 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.

Reminders:

  • Utilities Kingston does not place calls from, or solicit calls to, a 1-800 or 1-888 number.
  • Utilities Kingston requests overdue accounts be paid via Paymentus, its third-party credit card payment provider, or by contacting credit and collections at 613-546-1181, extension 2278.

Fraud Prevention Month is spearheaded by the Competition Bureau. Get more tips to help recognize, reject and report fraud at www.UtilitiesKingston.com

One thought on “Utilities Kingston shares tips during Fraud Protection Month

  • It is unfortunate that neither the police services nor the CRTC make a serious effort to shut down telephone scammers. If the CRTC wanted to, it could require telephone companies to record the numbers of incoming calls and filter out those known to be fraudulent. As it now is done, complaints of telephone scams are seldom investigated, (simply recorded), and the complainant has no idea if anything has been done about their complaint. The CRTC asks complainants to provide the telephone number and the name of the scammer, as if these frauds provide any legitimate information about themselves. Imagine if the police required a bank to provide the name and address of the person who committed a robbery. When someone calls and does not properly identify their business, about the only defence is to hang-up. Thank the CRTC, your local politicians (many who themselves use robo-calls, the equivalent of telephone spam), and the police (at all levels) for their failures to deter telephone scammers. And, those very few who do get caught are seldom convicted, and courts often sentence them to minimal jail time (as a non-violent offence). Lost money to one? It’s gone!

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