Protect yourself and your information: avoid potential scams

This story is an update of previous information about past scams. Updated May 2024.

Stay informed on the latest scams targeting British Columbians

Scammers are always finding new ways to try to trick our customers, from knocking on doors to try to gain entry to homes to sending emails pretending to be a BC Hydro representative . It’s important to protect yourself and your personal information, so we’re describing the scams we’re aware of and how you can avoid them.

How the Website Spoofing Scam Works

There have been instances where fraudsters have “spoofed” our website in an attempt to obtain personal information about customers. The website may include the BC Hydro logo and other attributes that make it look like our website, but it is limited in the information provided and the actions users can take. For example, it will often include a phone number that appears to be our contact center. When a customer calls this number, a fraudster asks for information, including their credit card number, to open an account. It’s a scam. In other cases, the site may claim to offer exclusive benefits, including promotions and bill savings, automatic payment, and instant confirmation of your bill payment.

We do not collect credit card or bank account information over the phone and we do not accept cash or Bitcoin gift card payments.

How Text and Email Scams Work

Fraudsters use SMS or email phishing in a variety of ways to collect money or information. These include tactics such as:

  • Text messages or emails that appear to be a notification from Interac with a link to receive a refund from BC Hydro.
  • Text messages that appear to be a notification from BC Hydro about your electricity billing or usage, claiming you have underpaid or overpaid.

In these messages, customers are asked to click a link or respond to the message to obtain a refund, pay an overdue amount, or to learn more about the notification. It’s a scam. These messages are not from BC Hydro and are an attempt to obtain your private banking or other personal information. Tips for recognizing text and email scams:

  • We do not offer refunds or credits and do not accept Interac e-Transfer payments.
  • We do not send usage or billing notifications to residential customers via SMS.
  • Take note of the Interac information for our discount programs; this is currently the only legitimate Interac email you will receive from BC Hydro, and only if you have explicitly registered through MyHydro.
  • If you receive a text message or email claiming to be from us that you weren’t expecting, or if your account/billing status in the email appears incorrect, check your account on MyHydro or call us to verify.

Be aware that scammers can “spoof” a real BC Hydro email address, making it appear as if the message is coming from us. Although the “from” address may appear to be a genuine BC Hydro email used to send legitimate mail, be wary of any message that seems suspicious or unexpected.

How door-to-door canvassing works

A recurring scam involves fraudsters knocking on your door claiming to be from BC Hydro. They will try to gain access to your home telling you that they need to inspect your furnace, and in some cases they may even try to convince you that you need a new one.

We will not try to gain access to your home without your knowledge. If a BC Hydro employee needs to speak with you for any reason, such as an outage or other emergency, you can request their BC Hydro ID and call 1 800 BC HYDRO (1 800 224 9376) to confirm that this is a legitimate employee. employee or contractor.

How the phone scam works

Similar to door-to-door, scammers pose as BC Hydro employees, this time contacting customers by phone and asking them to purchase a cash gift card to pay their overdue account and avoid disconnection from their service.

We do not collect credit card or bank account information over the phone and we do not accept cash or Bitcoin gift card payments. If you receive a suspicious phone call from someone claiming to be BC Hydro, hang up and call us to verify the call.

How the social media scam works

Scammers use various methods to collect your personal information or money on social media sites including Facebook, X (formerly Twitter) and Instagram. Here are some examples :

  • Scammers create fake accounts and pretend to be BC Hydro, pretending you’ve won a prize and asking you to click a link to provide more information. This could be a reply to a comment, a post, or a direct message.
  • Fraudsters are offering to pay for services using a fraudulent check from BC Hydro. Once the check is deposited, the scammer informs the account holder that they need a portion of the money back, which would result in the loss of personal funds.

These tactics are constantly evolving and we recommend these tips for recognizing social media scammers:

  • Always make sure you are contacting verified BC Hydro accounts.
  • We will never send funds or ask for your banking or credit card information on social media.
  • Never click on suspicious links or links sent by someone you don’t know

If in doubt, you can check with our official social networks: Facebook, X (formerly Twitter)Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.

How the Bitcoin Scam Works

The Bitcoin scam is similar to the telephone scam in which fraudsters pose as BC Hydro employees and contact customers by telephone and ask them to pay their overdue account in Bitcoin.

Bitcoin scammers will then send customers a barcode or QR code containing the scammer’s Bitcoin wallet information, with the email coming from the fictitious email address. This message is a scam. Thinking they are paying their BC Hydro bill, the customer takes the barcode to a Bitcoin ATM (details of nearby locations provided by the scammer) where it is scanned to make a money deposit to the fraudster.

A reminder: We do not collect credit card or bank account information over the phone and we do not accept cash or Bitcoin gift card payments. If you receive a suspicious phone call from someone claiming to represent BC Hydro, hang up and call 1-800-BC-HYDRO (1-800-224-9376) to verify the call. Phone spoofing technology can make incoming calls appear to be legitimately from us. So it’s always best to hang up and call us back to confirm.

Interac e-Transfer for Power Smart programs

Some of our rebate programs offer the option of receiving your rebate via electronic transfer. Here’s how to know if you received a legitimate note about your discount:

  • You will only receive an email regarding an Interac e-Transfer from BC Hydro if you have selected e-Transfer to receive your rebate for the Home Improvement Rebate Program or Appliance Rebate Program. You will never receive this note as a text message.
  • You will need to specifically select to receive an Interac e-Transfer in MyHydro as part of your rebate request; the default selection will always be a credit on your BC Hydro bill.
  • You may never use Interac to pay your BC Hydro bill, and you will never receive a text message of any kind regarding BC Hydro from Interac, which only uses email for BC Hydro transactions.

Learn more about BC Hydro Interac e-Transfer

If you are registered with MyHydro, you can view the latest information about your account, including your account balance, by logging into your account. You can also call us with any questions.

If you receive a fraudulent text message or email

Customers are asked to report any fraudulent texts or emails they receive to their local police department and to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center at 1-888-495-8501.

If you are unsure whether any communication from us is legitimate, do not click on any links or open any files sent to you. Call our customer team at 1 800 BC HYDRO (1 800 224 9376) for clarification.