RCMP sent out a bulletin recently warning of a new scam targeting businesses to watch out for.
“Victims report they receive a phone call from a fraudster claiming to work with BC Hydro. The caller advises the business owner they owe a large sum of money and unless paid immediately their power will be cut off. The victim is directed to purchase a PayPower Visa Reload Pack from a retail store. With the PayPower card loaded, the victim gives the caller a 10 digit code off the back of the card, allowing the fraudster access to the funds,” describes the RCMP bulletin.
The bulletin goes on to mention that a business in North Vancouver fell victim to the scam.
“If it’s happening there, it’s happening here. People just might not be reporting it,” says Constable Jim Preston of the Lake Cowichan RCMP Detachment.
Const. Preston advises residents to keep their wits about them if they receive such a call. Listen to the caller, take down their name and information, and don’t be alarmed by the threat of money owing. Do not agree to purchase anything or to make any payments until you have contacted BC Hydro via the number that is on your bill statement.
“Your bill will have your account information and what you’ve paid, so if you ever have any doubt, just get their information and then call yourself through your bill, and verify,” says Const. Preston. “If somebody has actually lost money or be defrauded, they can always report it to us.”
If you have’t lost money but receive a suspicious call, you can also contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-348-5358.
The RCMP offer these scam prevention tips:
• Scammers are counting on the fact that you will want to act quickly to prevent losing your power.
• Never send money to anyone you do not know and trust. Verify the person’s identity before you take any action.
• Don’t give out any personal information to an unknown caller.