Protecting Yourself from Fraud
Scams targeting electricity customers are becoming increasingly common across North America. The most common scams involve a telephone call from someone claiming to be from Guelph Hydro (or the electrical utility in the targeted area) who says that the customer’s account is overdue and if payment is not made immediately, electricity will be disconnected in the next half-hour to hour.
The caller then demands payment in one of the following ways:
- Prepaid credit card
- Wire transfer
- Gift cards
- A cheque that the caller says they will send to their target, who is instructed to deposit the cheque and transfer the funds back to the fraudster
How to Identify a Fraudulent Call
- Tends to target small businesses, such as restaurants or beauty salons and spas
- Comes at time of day when being without electricity would be particularly troublesome to the business, such as right before the lunch or dinner rush for a restaurant
- Comes at a time when the customer service department at the utility is likely closed or close to closing, such as at the end of the day or before or during a holiday
- Comes from a 1-800 number, and may display the name “Guelph Hydro”, or “Hydro”
- When the displayed number is called, the call is answered “Guelph Hydro”, “Hydro”, “Disconnections Department”, or something similar
- The amount that is "overdue" is usually around $1,000 to $1,500
Guelph Hydro Process
Guelph Hydro does contact customers for payment of overdue accounts, so these scams may be difficult for customers to detect. The following is the process Guelph Hydro follows for collection of accounts that are overdue:
- Our credit department only makes calls Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- Guelph Hydro does not have a “Disconnections Department"
- Guelph Hydro does not call from a 1-800 number
- Guelph Hydro does not request payment over the phone using a pre-paid credit card or gift card
- Guelph Hydro does not accept wire transfer payments
- Guelph Hydro makes every effort to contact customers before disconnecting service, including written notice, hand-delivered notice, and phone calls.
If you receive one of these fraudulent calls, do not:
- Provide account information
- Provide bank information
- Provide credit card information
- Call Guelph Hydro customer service 519.822.3010 to report the call and verify the status of your account
- Visit RCMP’s Scams and Fraud website www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca for more information, or call 1-888-495-8501
Verify your account status quickly with MyEnergy View
Guelph Hydro’s online portal, MyEnergy View, provides Guelph Hydro customers with access to their Guelph Hydro account 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from any computer or mobile device. By registering your account with MyEnergy View, you can quickly log on and verify the last payment made on your account and avoid falling victim to this scam. You can also manage your billing and payment options, register for our Equal Payment Plan or set up a Pre-Authorized Payment Plan to make managing your Guelph Hydro account simple and efficient.