Text message phishing, 'Bitcoin', & door to door scams target customers
One scam claims a refund is coming; the other asks for payment via Bitcoin
This story is an update of earlier information about text, phone, and bitcoin scams.
Scammers are always finding new ways to try to trick our customers. The latest scam has fraudsters knocking on the doors of our customers and trying to gain entry into their homes.
How the door to door scam works
Another ongoing scam involves fraudsters knocking on your front door and claiming to be from BC Hydro. They will try to gain access to your home by saying they need to inspect your furnace, and in some cases may even try to convince you that you need a new one.
BC Hydro will not need access to your home without your prior knowledge. If a BC Hydro employee does need to speak with you or any reason, such as an outage or other emergency, you can request their BC Hydro ID and call 1 800 BC Hydro (1 800 224 9376) to confirm that they're a legitimate employee or contractor.
How the Bitcoin scam works
The latest scam invokes the use of Bitcoin. It's similar to an earlier (and ongoing) telephone scam in which fraudsters posing as BC Hydro employees contact customers by telephone and ask them to purchase a cash gift card to pay for their overdue account and avoid disconnection of their service. This time around scammers tell customers to pay with Bitcoin.
The "Bitcoin scammers" email customers a bar code (or QR Code) with the scammer's Bitcoin wallet information, with the email coming from the fictitious firstname.lastname@example.org. This message is a scam. Thinking that they're paying their BC Hydro bill, the customer takes the barcode to a Bitcoin ATM – details of locations nearby provided by the scammer – where it is scanned to complete a deposit of cash to the fraudster.
A reminder: We don't collect credit card or bank account information over the telephone and we don't accept payment by cash gift cards or Bitcoin. If you receive a suspicious phone call from someone claiming to represent BC Hydro, hang up and call 1 800 BC Hydro (1 800 224 9376) to verify the call. Phone spoofing technology can make incoming calls appear as though they're legitimately coming from us, so it's always better to hang up and call us back to confirm.
How the email phishing scam works
An email phishing scam that has been around for months and typically comes via text message and has the appearance of an Interac e-transfer.
- BC Hydro customers are being contacted by text message and email with what appears to be a notification from Interac with a link to receive a refund from BC Hydro.
- Customers are told to click on a link to access their account refund by submitting their banking information.
- This message is a scam: it's not from BC Hydro, and it's an attempt to obtain your private banking information.
We don't issue e-transfers or send account info via text
You may have received an email or text message that you have a refund waiting for you through Interac e-transfer. Please spread the word that any messages promising a refund via text or email are a scam.
We don't currently issue refunds via Interac e-transfer and we won't communicate with you about your account through a text message.
Interac e-transfer for Power Smart programs
Some BC Hydro Power Smart programs, notably Team Power Smart, offer the option to receive your reward or rebate via e-transfer. Here's how to tell if you've received a legitimate note about your rebate or reward:
- You will only receive an email about an Interac e-transfer from BC Hydro if you have participated in a Power Smart program (such as the Team Power Smart Reduction Challenge) and selected e-transfer to receive your reward or rebate. You'll never receive this note as a text message.
- You will need to specifically make the selection to receive Interac e-transfer within MyHydro as part of your program participation or rebate application; the default selection will always be a credit on your BC Hydro bill.
- You can never use Interac to pay your BC Hydro bill, and you'll never get a text message of any kind related to BC Hydro from Interac, which only uses email for BC Hydro transactions.
- If you haven't participated in a Power Smart program and specifically selected Interac e-transfer for your option, you won't receive an email from us with your reward or rebate.
If you've signed up for MyHydro, you can see the latest information for your account, including your account balance, by logging in to your account at bchydro.com. You can also give us a call with any questions.
If you receive a fraudulent text or email
Customers are asked to report any fraudulent texts or emails they receive to their local police department and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1 888 495 8501.
If you're ever unsure about whether a communication from BC Hydro is legitimate, don't click any links or open any files sent to you. Call our customer team at 1 800 BC Hydro (1 800 224 9376) for clarification.
Reports also continue of a phone scam BC Hydro initially warned customers of in 2014. Fraudsters posing as BC Hydro employees contact customers by telephone and ask them to purchase a cash gift card to pay for their overdue account and avoid disconnection of their service.
We don't collect credit card or bank account information over the telephone and we don't accept payment by cash gift cards or Bitcoin. If you receive a suspicious phone call from someone claiming to represent BC Hydro, hang up and call 1 800 BC Hydro to verify the call.