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Scammers pretending to be Hydro workers are targeting businesses in Sudbury

Contact your local utility directly if you suspect something is wrong
Greater Sudbury Utilities is warning business owners of a scam that asks people to pay their bills using gift cards or pre-paid Visa cards. (File)

Greater Sudbury Hydro is again receiving reports of fraud attempts on local businesses.

The caller says they are from the local utility, threatens disconnection within a very short time period if payment is not received immediately, then gives directions to purchase gift cards or prepaid visa cards and to call a toll-free number.

This is an attempt to defraud the business, said Greater Sudbury Hydro in a news release. Greater Sudbury Hydro does not ever request gift cards or prepaid credit cards to settle accounts.

If you are behind on bill payments, you will receive a written reminder, a written disconnect notice, and a physical collection trip.

“These fraudsters usually make these extortive calls just before a busy period,” said Wendy Watson, director of communications for Greater Sudbury Hydro. “For instance, they often call restaurants just before lunch or dinner, when they’re scrambling to get ready.”

Watson urges people who receive these calls to contact their local utility directly.

“Use the phone number on your bill, not the one the caller provides. Make sure you are talking to the right people.”

Watson also suggests you report all attempted frauds to the Canadian anti- Fraud Hotline at 1-888-495-8501.

“This scam and similar versions have been travelling around the province,” said Watson. “The best way to protect yourself and your business is to be aware, and confirm any financial details directly with your utility.”