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Keep yourself and your information safe: avoiding potential scams

Hand holding smartphone shows text with skull and crossbones warning.

This story is an update of earlier information about past scams. Updated June 2024.

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 website spoofing scam works

There have been instances where fraudsters have ‘spoofed’ our website in attempt to gain customers’ personal information. The website may include the BC Hydro logo and other attributes that make it appear like our website but is limited in the information provided and the actions users are able to take. For example, it will often include a phone number that appears to be for our contact centre. When a customer calls this number a fraudster asks for information, including their credit card number to set up an account. This is a scam. In other instances, the site may claim to offer exclusive benefits, including promotions and bill savings, autopay, and instant confirmation that your bill has been paid.

We don't collect credit card or bank account information over the phone and we don't accept payment by cash gift cards or Bitcoin.

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're also hearing reports of a scam involving fraudsters calling customers claiming to be from BC Hydro and advising they need to pay a fee to upgrade their electricity meter to avoid disconnection. This is a scam. 

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 social media scam works

There are various methods fraudsters use to collect your personal information or money over social media sites including Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), and Instagram. A few examples include:

  • Fraudsters creating fake accounts and impersonating BC Hydro claiming that you won a prize and asking you to click a link to provide more information. This can be a reply to a comment, post, or sent as a direct message.
  • Scammers offering to pay for services using a fraudulent BC Hydro cheque. Once the cheque is deposited the scam artist advises the account holder that they need some of the money back which would result in the loss of personal funds.

These tactics are always evolving, and we recommend these tips for recognizing scammers on social media:

  • Always check that you are communicating with the verified BC Hydro accounts
  • We'll never send funds or ask for your banking or credit card information over social media
  • Never click any suspicious links or links sent by someone you don't know

If ever unsure, you can verify with our official social media channels: Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

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.

Interac e-transfer for Power Smart programs

Some of our rebate programs offer the option to receive your rebate via e-transfer. Here's how to tell if you've received a legitimate note about your rebate:

  • You'll only receive an email about an Interac e-transfer from BC Hydro if you've selected e-transfer to receive your rebate for the Home Renovation Rebates Program or the Appliance Rebate Program. 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 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.

Learn more about Interac e-transfer from BC Hydro

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.