Guelph Hydro shares new details about 'sophisticated' phone scam

Alectra Uitilities says customers are receiving calls about overdue accounts, in "sophisticated" phone scam.

Callers are posing as Guelph Hydro and demanding payment

Canadians are being told to watch out for a new phone scam which uses audio recordings to dupe unwitting consumers out of cash. (Shutterstock/Gajus)

Alectra Utilities is urging customers to be cautious of any phone calls or messages they might receive from parties claiming to be them.

The hydro company, formerly called Guelph Hydro, says a number of residents have reported receiving calls about an overdue account, and being threatened with disconnection if immediate payment is not made over the phone.

"What is a little bit more sophisticated about this particular scam is that they've actually recorded the automated greeting" you hear when you answer the phone call, Rachel Bertone, Media spokesperson for Alectra Utilities told CBC K-W.

"It's been spoofed so it sounds like the caller is actually coming from one of our automated recordings."

People receiving the call are even invited to key in numbers and wait for an attendant to come on the line. It all feels very big-business and legitimate. 

Alectra Utilities says the matter has been reported to the police. 

In the mean time, they are urging customers to report any calls to Guelph police, and to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

Bertone says the company does not call customers from 1-800 phone numbers or threaten to disconnect power instantaneously.

They say customers should never give their account number or credit card number to callers alleging to be from the utility. They should hang up and call Alectra Utilities at 519-822-3010 during normal business hours to report the call and verify their account.