Sep 27, 2019 12:10PM

The Ontario Energy Board has reported that some customers have been contacted by people pretending to be from their local hydro company and threatening to disconnect their power if they do not receive payment immediately. Please be advised that this is a scam and that customers need to be aware. Below is some helpful information for customers to remember if they are contacted by somebody claiming to be from their localy utility.

Please ensure customers that:

  • NPEI never disconnects power without first sending a notice and then contacting customers by phone with a 48 hr Reminder and will never ask a customer to call a 1-800 number (like 1-855 or something similar) to make such a payment. Also, to be aware that when customers call this number, the voice message sounds very similar to what you would hear when they call NPEI.
  • Scammers may be sending customers fake bills and personalized letters threatening disconnection unless they pay a "Smart Meter Deposit," which is not a real charge.
  • Some customers may be receiving emails and/or text messages that appear to be from NPEI, asking that they accept an electronic transfer (credit or refund) by clicking on a link. This is a scam – we never send these types of messages.
  • In some cases, fraudsters may be approaching customers door-to-door and posing as NPEI representatives. They are pretending to inspect meters and panels, or sell and install products (like smart meters or devices to prevent power surges).
    NPEI never goes door-to-door to solicit sales.

Added Tips on How to Avoid a Scam:

Scams are constantly evolving, but learning how to spot the following red flags will help protect customers against fraudsters:

  • We don't threaten immediate disconnection for non-payment. Our collections process includes issuing an Important Notice (that provides possible disconnection information) followed by a 48 Hr Notice telephone message.
  • We never proactively ask for payment by pre-paid card and we don't accept bitcoin.
  • Inaccurate account numbers are a red flag for fraud. Always compare suspicious invoices with a previous bill and note the account number and the previous amount.
  • Don't click on any links included in suspicious emails or text messages, as fraudsters may be attempting to access your personal information.
  • We do not use text messages to communicate with customers about account issues.
  • We never solicit door to door for any reason.

Ways to block scammers:

  • Don't provide any personal or account information if contacted at the door or by phone, email or text.
  • Don't make any type of payment until you can confirm you're dealing with NPEI.
  • Don't click on any links advertising a refund or a rebate in text messages or emails as this is a tactic fraudsters use to access personal information.

Reporting Suspicious Behaviour

  • Customers who suspect any type of fraud should be encouraged to contact us.
  • Customers should also report suspicious activity to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.  In the event that the customer has paid or sent money for payment, they should contact the Police Department.

Last modified: Oct 17, 2019 12:12PM