Utility company that serves Mississauga and Brampton warning residents to beware of Bitcoin scam


Published February 16, 2023 at 3:36 pm

hydro bill scam
Nicola Barts photo

If someone purporting to be a representative of your utility company calls you this upcoming long weekend and demands cryptocurrency, hang up–you’re the victim of a scam call. 

Attention customers‼️ Beware of scam calls, texts, and letters this long weekend. We would never ask for Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency – or demand immediate payment. Contact us when in doubt and trust your instincts. Visit https://t.co/tZxgGjYXhv to learn more. pic.twitter.com/6IDSqdNDNy

— Alectra (@alectranews) February 16, 2023

Alectra Utilities, which serves customers in Mississauga, Brampton and other Ontario cities, asked its customers to be vigilant about possible scam calls, texts and letters this upcoming Family Day weekend. 

“We would never ask for Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency – or demand immediate payment,” the company wrote on social media. 

“Contact us when in doubt and trust your instincts.”

On its website, Alectra says that fraudsters tend to target small businesses such as restaurants, salons and spas and threaten to shut off their power during a “meter swap” unless they immediately pay a large sum, unusually $1,000 to $1,500. According to Alectra, these calls might come in when the customer service department at the utility company is closed or closing. 

The calls might come from a 1-800 number and may display the name “Alectra Utilities” or “Hydro.”

The customer is typically directed to pay the false fee at random kiosks in grocery stores. 

“Alectra Utilities does not charge customers for meter exchanges or ask customers to make payment using gift cards or at banking kiosks,” the company says on its website. 

Customers might also receive fraudulent text messages prompting them to collect a non-existent refund by clicking on an Interac e-transfer link. Alectra says it will never text customers to inform them of refunds or service disconnections. 

Alectra also says businesses should be wary if they receive a letter warning them that the utility company will disconnect their electricity unless they pay a Smart Meter fee. 

“Alectra Utilities does not charge customers for their Smart Meter and advises customers in advance of any changes to their service or account,” the website reads.

Alectra says that when it contacts a customer about an outstanding payment, it does so by phone Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:00 am and 4:30 pm.

The company says it will never demand immediate payment using a pre-paid credit card, gift card, PayPal or Bitcoin.

It does not accept wire transfer payments 

“Alectra Utilities makes every effort to contact customers before disconnecting service, including mailing a written notice, hand delivering a disconnection notice, making phone calls and, if service is about to be disconnected, knocking on the door to contact the customer in person,” the company says on its website. 

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