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Fraudsters target elderly couple in Renfrew County with hydro scam

The OPP is investigating after an elderly couple from Burnstown received a call and a visit from fraudsters claiming to work for the Ontario Electric Support Program (OESP).
2022-08-29-opp general
Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) logo. PHOTO/OPP

An elderly couple was recently targeted by scammers in Renfrew County. 

The Renfrew Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is urging the community to protect themselves from falling victim to a scam involving fraudulent calls about hydro bills. 

On Friday, Nov. 18 , Renfrew OPP were informed that an elderly couple from Burnstown received a call from a male stating that he worked for the Ontario Electric Support Program (OESP). 

The male claimed he could offer a service to reduce the couple's monthly hydro bill and requested to attend their residence to speak with them in person.

Two men arrived at their residence a short time later claiming to be OESP employees, though they were not wearing a uniform, did not drive a company vehicle and did not provide documentation proving their employment. 

The scammers convinced the couple to pay an amount of cash to start the process and obtained personal information, including a Social Insurance Number (SIN).

After the interaction, the couple felt concerned and contacted the OESP and it was confirmed they had been scammed. It was also confirmed that this type of fraud has been attempted numerous times.

According to the OPP, these scams are designed to lure you into providing your personal information. For example, you could receive an email, text, social media message, or voice message that appears to be from a recognized institution or company, such as:

  • A bank
  • Online subscription services (i.e., Netflix, Amazon)
  • A business
  • Government department or agency 

The message may claim that you need to update your account or that your tax refund is ready, but whatever the message is, it's an attempt to trick you into providing your personal or financial information.

The OPP is urging the public to always verify that the call is legitimate by researching the agency calling and don't be afraid to say no.

If you or someone you know may have been a victim, please contact the OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS). The information can also be reported to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) at www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca.
 

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