Restaurant owner Archie Dicecco warns of scammers calling people to say they have an outstanding BC Hydro bill.

Restaurant owner Archie Dicecco warns of scammers calling people to say they have an outstanding BC Hydro bill.

Scams target Williams Lake residents

A BC Hydro scam reached Williams Lake last weekend when a local restaurant owner received a phone call informing him he owed $1,989.

A BC Hydro scam reached Williams Lake last weekend when a local restaurant owner received a phone call informing him he owed $1,989 for the August through September time period.

“On Friday I got a call saying my account showed an outstanding balance,” Trattoria Pasta’s Archie Dicecco told the Tribune/WeekendAdvisor.

“The caller was threatening penalty fees and possible disconnection,” “It was pretty incredible.”

Immediately Dicecco jotted down the caller’s number, which was  1-888-438-0283, and told her that he would call back in a few minutes.

He then went to his bank to ensure his latest hydro payment had gone through.

Once he confirmed it had, he called the number, explained what had happened, and was put on hold.

“They never called back,” he said.

BC Hydro said it began alerting the public in September about a scam where customers were  receiving calls where the caller claims to represent BC Hydro and says power will be disconnected if a payment is not received.

“The company does not collect credit card or bank account information over the telephone,” a hydro press release noted.

“Customers are also reminded that if they receive a call from someone representing BC Hydro and they doubt the authenticity of the call, they should hang up and call back.”

If an account is in arrears, BC Hydro will send several notices asking for payment in the mail and also use an automated dialer to remind customers to make a payment before electricity supply is impacted.

BC Hydro customers are asked to report these calls by calling BC Hydro at 1 800 BC Hydro, their local police department and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1 888 495 8501.

Dicecco confirmed he also reported the scam to the Williams Lake RCMP and the Anti-Fraud Centre.

Another scam reported this week involved a caller claiming to be a representative of Bell Canada.

The intended victim said the caller told her to turn on her computer while she was on the phone or she would lose Internet service for three months.

The woman was in fact a Shaw customer and called her Internet provider, who told her not to pick up the phone when the scammers called back.

“He had our address, that’s the scary part,” she said.