Nanaimo RCMP warn residents to beware of B.C. Hydro phone scam

NANAIMO – Victim loses cash in a bill collection scam falsely representing B.C. Hydro.

Nanaimo Mounties are warning the public about a phoney B.C. Hydro bill collection scam that cost one woman hundreds of dollars recently.

The 48-year-old Nanaimo woman received a call in early March from someone claiming to work for B.C. Hydro.

The phone’s call display said the call came from the state of Utah and the caller told the woman she owed money from her previous tenant and her electricity would be cut off if she didn’t pay.

The victim was told to buy prepaid Visa top-up cards provide security numbers on the back of the card to the caller. The victim purchased $1,000 on the cards.

Several days later the same person called back, said there was no money on the cards and told her to buy more. Instead the victim, now suspicious, called B.C. Hydro in Nanaimo where she was told the company does not operate this way and has no offices in Utah.

RCMP investigators called the Utah number and were hung up on and a Google search revealed there are numerous fraud complaints associated with that number.

“The victim will not be able to recoup her losses and unfortunately this could have easily been prevented if she had simply called B.C. Hydro in the first instance and done a Google search of the phone number,” Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, said in a press release.