According to Utilities Kingston and Kingston Hydro, a number of customers have received suspicious text messages that claim to be from the utility, however those texts are fraudulent.
The suspicious texts in question claim to be from Kingston Hydro and state the recipient is due a refund along with a link to supposedly claim that refund.
The agencies confirm they do not text customers about billing and any links received in a text should not be clicked on. A legitimate refund would be applied as a credit to the customer’s utility bill.
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In addition to advising customers to not click on these links, Utilities Kingston – which handles billing, payments and credits on behalf of Kingston Hydro – cautions clients to not respond directly to a phone number where you believe the spam text originated, as that would inform the scammer that your number is legitimate. Also be sure to not provide any personal information, including credit card or utility account numbers.
Utilities Kingston says you should forward any spam message you might receive to the short code 7726 (SPAM) so that an investigation can be started by your cell phone provider. Put 7726 into your contact list. Reporting Spam to 7726 – which you may want to add to your contact list now for convenience – is free and messages don’t count toward your data or messaging usage package.
Cutomers can likewise report the incident to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, who collect information on fraud and works closely with police to solve these crimes, at 1-888-495-8501. If you are a victim of fraud through monetary loss, file a report with Kingston Police at 613-549-4660.