Manitoba Hydro is warning its customers to watch out for high-pressure scammers claiming to represent the Crown Corporation.
Chris McColm, Hydro’s security and investigations supervisor, said Friday that the utility has seen a 300 per cent increase in fraud complaints over the previous year, driven primarily by crooks calling small business owners and threatening disconnection of service.
“These people are crooks and you should hang up on them,” said McColm.
“Our customers are becoming more educated about fraud, but these scammers can be very convincing. Anyone can be victimized.
“Phone scammers falsify their called ID information to make it appear they’re calling from Manitoba Hydro. Their goal is to manipulate you into sending money before you figure out it’s a scam. ”
Some of the other fraud-related complaints Hydro has received in 2018 include unsolicited text messages telling customers they were overbilled and eligible for a refund. The goal with that scam, said McColm, is to get access to a customer’s personal banking info.
Seniors are also a prime target of scammers, particularly in connection with aggressive door-to-door sales. McColm said legitimate Hydro staff will always display photo ID and never demand to come into a person’s home.
WATCH: Scam texts and emails received by Winnipeggers a modern twist on an old crime
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.