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In person and by text, Manitoba Hydro warns fraudsters use many tactics

Manitoba Hydro says scammers are finding new ways to get money from Hydro customers.
Manitoba Hydro says scammers are finding new ways to get money from Hydro customers. Global News / File

Manitoba Hydro is warning customers of fraud schemes. The utility company issued a statement Wednesday advising homeowners to be ‘cautious’ when dealing with door-to-door sales people or answering unsolicited text messages or emails about their energy bill.

RELATED: Bill payments will no longer be accepted in person at all but one Manitoba Hydro location

Hydro’s security and investigations supervisor Chris McColm said they have received a number of complaints. “We only know about the incidents our customers tell us about, but we’re under no illusion fraud is dropping,” McColm said.

“We also know our customers are becoming more educated about fraud, but at the same time this illegal activity is becoming more sophisticated and anyone with an email account or smart phone can be targeted.”

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Most of the recent fraud-related complaints to Manitoba Hydro concern unsolicited text messages to customers saying they were overbilled and are eligible for a refund. This scam is aimed at getting a customer’s personal banking information.

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However, Hydro knows seniors living alone are frequently targeted by aggressive door-to-door sales people and should continue to be wary despite the holiday season.

“Our message is just because someone knocks on your door and claims they represent Manitoba Hydro doesn’t mean they’re on the up-and-up,” McColm said. “Our employees always display their Manitoba Hydro photo ID and will never demand to come into your home.”

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