January 5, 2019 7:18 pm

Nanaimo business owner warns against BC Hydro scam calls

B.C. Hydro confirmed it has received several complaints of scam callers claiming they are from the company.

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A Nanaimo business owner is warning people to be careful after he says he was called by scammers claiming to be from BC Hydro.

Perry Schroter is the owner of the Snip & Stitch Sewing Centre in Nanaimo.

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He said he got a call Saturday from a 1-800 number claiming to be from BC Hydro. The caller said his bill hadn’t been paid — and that technicians would be at his store in an hour to shut off the power unless he paid straight away, over the phone.

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Schroter said he told the caller his bills are paid automatically through his account and had gone through this month.

“That’s when they started coming down hard on us,” said Schroter. “Saying that they would reimburse our account with the money that we had already been paid, but they need payment up front now. And that’s when they were wanting to use whatever we could give them for payment.”

Schroter reported the call to BC Hydro and the Nanaimo RCMP.

BC Hydro spokesperson Kevin Aquino confirmed the company has received several complaints of similar scams and is working with local police.

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Aquino said BC Hydro does send out payment reminders by mail and automated voice message but will never ask you to pay over the phone.

“BC Hydro does not collect credit card or bank information over the phone, and BC Hydro does not take payment from cash, gift cards, or Bitcoin,” said Aquino.

However, if customers receive calls claiming to represent the company that they believe to be suspicious, they should hang up and report the matter to police and to BC Hydro, he said. 

Global News has reached out to Nanaimo RCMP for comment.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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