PowerStream alerting customers to a new phone scam
July 16, 2015
In response to increased activity in its service territory, PowerStream is alerting customers to a new telephone scam in which customers are being threatened with having their electrical service disconnected if they do not provide immediate payment in the form of a pre-paid credit card.
According to the reports, customers are receiving fraudulent calls from a phone number that may appear as “PowerStream” on call display. The perpetrator, claiming to be a PowerStream employee, instructs the customer to purchase a pre-paid credit card in the amount claimed to be outstanding on their electricity bill, and to call a specific phone number to provide the card and a personal identification number (PIN) as payment on their account. When the perpetrator’s phone number is called, the recorded message fraudulently suggests that the customer has reached PowerStream’s billing department.
PowerStream never asks for a pre-paid card payment for any outstanding account balance. The company’s standard procedure for overdue accounts is to provide multiple notices including an automated reminder call followed by a hand delivered Final Notice to the service address prior to disconnection. PowerStream does not disconnect services after 4 p.m. on weekdays or any time on weekends or holidays.
In the event customers receive a suspicious phone call, PowerStream advises the following:
In 2014, PowerStream alerted customers to a similar telephone scam that had been originally reported in the United States and later made its way over the border, targeting utility customers across Canada.
PowerStream is a municipally-owned energy company that provides power and related services to more than 375,000 customers residing or owning a business in communities located immediately north of Toronto and in Central Ontario. It is jointly owned by the Cities of Barrie, Markham and Vaughan.