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Kingston small business owner defrauded of $5K in scam targeting Utilities Kingston customers

A small business owner in Kingston was scammed out of $5,000 from a called claiming to be Utilities Kingston.
A small business owner in Kingston was scammed out of $5,000 from a called claiming to be Utilities Kingston. File / Getty Images

Utilities Kingston and Kingston police have been warning residents that scammers are targeting locals in the Ontario town by urging them to pay for fictitious utilities bills.

One small business owner fell for the scam this week.

READ MORE: Kingston police say cases of phone and romance scams have doubled in 5 years

Kingston police say someone posing as a Utilities Kingston employee called the business owner on April 29 and told them if they did not send $5,000 in Bitcoins right away, their utilities would be shut off.

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After the business owner sent the money, the same person called back again, claiming that the payment did not go through.

Kingston police say believe the scammer was trying to get a second $5,000 sent to them.

The business owner became suspicious and called police.

READ MORE: Peterborough Utilities warns of phone scam threatening disconnection

Utilities Kingston said they have received several complaints from residents about a similar scam, and are urging people not to send money to anyone calling for overdue utilities bills. Kingston police say they have also received several complaints about similar calls.

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So far, they only know of the one instance where money was sent to the fraudsters.

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Due to the pandemic, Kingston police said Utilities Kingston has ensured that the power to customer’s homes or low-volume small businesses cannot be disconnected for non-payment until July 31.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Kingston small business owners do a major rethink during pandemic

Police are also urging people not to give any personal information to the callers, to collect as much information about the caller as possible, and to report the incident to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501, as well as to Kingston police.

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