Enwin Utilities puts customers on notice following phone scams

Shawn Lippert received a scary call Monday morning.

“I got a guy on the other end and said, ‘Hi, this is Enwin. We're giving you a courtesy call.’” Lippert was told his Scareshouse Windsor business account was in arrears and service was about to be cut off.

“I said, ‘Okay, give me your phone number. Give me a reference number. I'll transfer it over to the guy who's in charge of making bills,’” he said.

That person is his business partner Dario Silvaggi who was returning from a trip when he found out. He said they have pre-authorized payments set up through Enwin, but called the so-called representative anyway.

“I might be behind and he's like, 'Okay I'll text you your statements so that way you know the amount. It'll have a bar code on it,'” said Silvaggi.

With a 1:30 p.m. deadline, they were told to visit an Enwin kiosk at 321 Ouellette Avenue, which turned out to be a convenience store. Once there they were told to call back and receive instructions. There is no Enwin kiosk at the store, but there is a Bitcoin machine with a cash insert slot.

“There's no way I would be putting money into something that just says a Bitcoin machine or anything like that,” Silvaggi said.

But thankfully, things didn’t get that far. When Silvaggi didn't receive a quick reply he went online to double check their account and told CTV News Windsor, “I opened up the statements and it showed I have zero balance on both the accounts here at Scarehouse.”

Silvaggi called the number and asked the person to confirm their account numbers, but the person on the other end immediately hung up.

Store owner Ljubica Cajan said various scams related to the Bitcoin machine have occurred since 2017 and she keeps an eye out for those who look confused.

“Questioning them why [they're] coming, who sent them...I point out what police put,” said Cajan pointing to a “beware of fraud” warning on the Bitcoin machine.

According to Rob Spagnuolo, privacy officer for Enwin, phone scams are on the rise.

“We're warning customers be extra careful. Call the number that is on your bill. Visit our website and get our direct number and call that,” he said.

He added that residents should be wary of anyone that comes to the door claiming to be an Enwin representative asking for money, and told CTV News Windsor, “That’s not something that Enwin does.”

With no in-person option available at their Rhodes Drive office, bills can only be paid through online banking, credit card or e-transfer. All of those options are listed on the Enwin website.

Windsor Police Services Const. Bianca Jackson suggests digging up a company’s main number to confirm any debt before reacting to a hurried call to settle an account.

“They’ll know if you owe money or whether you don’t,” she said.

Jackson also cautions against residents sharing any personal information with anyone.

“They’re going to give you information that you might believe is true and they might actually be looking for you to give them information on yourself so they can use it against you,” she added.