Keep yourself and your information safe: avoiding potential scams
This story is an update of earlier information about past scams. Updated January 2023.
Stay informed on the latest scams targeting British Columbians
Scammers are always finding new ways to try to trick our customers, from knocking on their doors to try to gain entry to homes, to sending emails pretending to be a representative from BC Hydro. It's important to protect yourself and your personal information, which is why we're outlining the scams we're aware of, and how you can avoid them.
How the text and email scams work
There are several different ways fraudsters use text message or email phishing to collect money or information. These include tactics like:
- Text messages or emails that appear to be a notification from Interac with a link to receive a refund from BC Hydro.
- Text messages that appear to be a notification from BC Hydro about your billing or electricity usage, claiming that you’ve underpaid or overpaid.
In these messages, customers are told to click on a link or reply to the message to get a refund, pay an overdue amount, or to learn more about the notification. This is a scam. These messages are not from BC Hydro, and it's an attempt to obtain your private banking information or other personal information.Tips for recognizing text and email scams:
- We don't offer refunds or credits or accept payments through Interac e-transfer.
- We don’t send usage or billing notifications to residential customers through text message.
- Take note of the Interac info for our rebate programs; that's currently the only legitimate Interac email you will receive from BC Hydro, and only if you've explicitly opted in through MyHydro.
- If you receive a text or email that claims to be from us that you weren’t expecting, or your account/billing status in the email seems incorrect, check your account on MyHydro or give us a call to verify.
Be aware that scammers can "spoof" a real BC Hydro email address, making it appear that the message is coming from us. Although the "from" address may appear to be a real BC Hydro email used to send legitimate mail, be wary of any messages that seem suspicious or unexpected.
How the door to door scam works
One ongoing scam involves fraudsters knocking on your front door and claiming to be from BC Hydro. They'll 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.
We won't try to gain access to your home without your prior knowledge. If a BC Hydro employee does need to speak with you for 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 phone scam works
Similar to the door-to-door scam, fraudsters pose as BC Hydro employees, this time contacting customers by telephone and asking 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 us to verify the call.
How the Bitcoin scam works
The Bitcoin scam is similar to the telephone scam in which fraudsters pose as BC Hydro employees and contact customers by telephone and ask them to pay for their overdue account in Bitcoin.
The Bitcoin scammers will then email customers a bar code or QR Code with the scammer's Bitcoin wallet information, with the email coming from the fictitious email address. 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.
Some of our rebate and 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'll only receive an email about an Interac e-transfer from BC Hydro if you've 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'll 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. 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 us 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.