Quebecers across the province are due to receive their refund from Hydro-Québec this spring. However, the Crown corporation is warning its customers of a growing trend, where fraudsters will ask for payments or personal information via emails, text messages, and social media DMs. Quebec's power company notes that, more than ever before, customers are susceptible to this sometimes sophisticated scam. 

MTL Blog caught up with Hydro-Québec spokesperson Cendrix Bouchard to find out more about what customers can do when faced with these kinds of scams. 

"Scammers will use anything in the media at any given moment to find a way to get to people," says Bouchard.

"They're using the Bill 34 refunds as a new tool to try and scam people. We find that they've contacted customers through text messages and more recently, through social media." 

Last year, Hydro-Québec was the focus of a similar type of fraud, where scammers would call unsuspecting customers, pretending to be Hydro employees and demanding money. 

There are a few essential details that Hydro-Québec customers always need to be on the lookout for when it comes to potential scams. 

Hydro-Québec doesn't communicate with its clients through texts or social media when it's about payment or monetary situations.

Communication between you and the company that's related to payments should only happen through mail or via your email that's linked to your client space. 

"When it's a question of a credit card payment, we don't actually accept payment through credit card," says Bouchard. 

"These scammers will make these communications look rather professional. Customers need to be very suspicious because these days, it's a lot harder to detect fraud." 

Bouchard notes that most of the time, these scams will be related to something completely out of left field such as an emergency situation that isn't actually real.


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So what exactly do customers need to look out for? 

According to Bouchard, emails or communications with misspelled words or bizarre requests are the most obvious things. 

"There are examples when scammers ask people to pay money or else they will cut off service within the next few hours. We never actually do that and in the winter, we never cut off anyone's service," asserts Bouchard. 

Hydro-Québec will never ask for personal information or payments over a text message or DM.

Bouchard underlines that all client's personal information and payments are connected directly to their My Customer Space

"If it's something that sounds really weird to you, please contact us," says Bouchard. 

Customers who accidentally provide the scammers with information or payments should communicate with Hydro-Québec via its social media, email, or its customer service line at 1-888-385-7252. 

More information on these scams is available on the Hydro website.

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