PEI

Maritime Electric warning about phone scam

Maritime Electric is warning customers about a phone scam after receiving about 40 reports from customers about fraudulent calls since late last week.

About 40 complaints from customers since late last week

Maritime Electric says it has received several recent reports about the scam.

Maritime Electric is warning customers about a phone scam after receiving about 40 reports from customers about fraudulent calls since late last week.

The scam involves people claiming to be Maritime Electric employees calling customers and demanding immediate payment by prepaid Visa to avoid having their power shut off.

"We were getting a number of calls from customers and we actually had a situation where customers were being threatened on the phone and told that their power was going to be cut off in the next, you know, 15 minutes to 30 minutes," said spokesperson Kim Griffin.

Griffin said Maritime Electric has had reports of a similar scam in the past, but the number of calls ramped up again last week. After posting a warning about the scam on the Maritime Electric website and Facebook page Tuesday afternoon, Griffin said more reports were coming in. She said the reports have been from across the province. 

'Very convincing'

Griffin said about half of the customers who reported the scam said the callers "sounded very convincing." She said she's heard that some of the calls showed up on call display as being from an unknown number, while others displayed a 1-800 number.

I also think you know in this situation, not only is this customer upset but they're also embarrassed by what happened.- Kim Griffin

While most people realized the calls were fraudulent, Griffin said one customer did pay the money demanded by a fraudulent caller. 

"From what we know, no one has paid out before. But I also think you know in this situation, not only is this customer upset but they're also embarrassed by what happened," said Griffin.

Hang up, call company directly

She said if a customer is worried about a phone call, they should hang up, and call back to the company directly at 1-800-670-1012.

If you're not sure if you're speaking to a scammer, you should hang up and call Maritime Electric directly. (Gajus/Shutterstock)

She also said she has heard from customers that the fraudulent callers have been giving out phone numbers with extensions, which Maritime Electric does not use. She said "that's another flag for people" that the call is a scam.

She said any customers who receive a fraudulent call should report it to Maritime Electric and to the police.