Renfrew County Seniors targeted in Hydro scam

Phone scam

The Renfrew Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is investigating incidents of fraud targeting seniors. The investigation began when police were informed that on November 18, 2022, 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 that 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.

Police report that soon after, two males arrived at their residence claiming to be OESP employees. The couple detailed the event saying the males were not wearing a uniform, they did not drive a company vehicle, and did not provide documentation proving their employment. The males were described as in their 30s. One male was Caucasian and the other was middle eastern.

The scammers convinced the couple to pay an amount of cash to start the process. They further obtained personal information, including s Social Insurance Number (SIN). The couple felt concerned after the interaction and they contacted the OESP. It was then confirmed that they had been scammed and that this type of fraud has been attempted numerous times. 

As a result, Renfrew OPP is urging the community to protect themselves from falling victim to these scammers. They say that these scams are designed to lure people into providing their personal information. For example, they could send 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

OPP says the message may claim that the person needs to update their account or that a tax refund is ready. Whatever the message is, it's an attempt to trick the receiver into providing their personal or financial information. OPP urges people to always verify that the call is legitimate by doing research into the agency calling and don't be afraid to say no.

With files by CFRA's Connor Ray