ENMAX advises small businesses about phone scam
Published Friday, August 24, 2018 10:57AM MDT
Last Updated Friday, August 24, 2018 6:45PM MDT
Alberta energy giant ENMAX is sending a message to all of its small business customers to warn them about a phone scam operating in the Calgary area.
The company says that fraudsters call customers, pretending to be officials with the company. They claim that they owe an outstanding balance and threaten to end services unless they are immediately paid.
The payment requests are often required to be made through an unusual method, such as by Bitcoins or pre-paid credit cards.
ENMAX says that if you happen to receive a call like this, you should not provide any information and instead hang up immediately.
Yin Sung, owner of the Calgary bake shop Sucre, says she was taken in by the fraudsters because of the threat of her services being cut.
"I put a lot of effort into it. When someone calls and says my utlity bill is going to be cut and it's going to take two to three days to get it up and running, that really puts a big dent. In terms of business, it's a big deal."
Sung said she was called by someone claiming to be from ENMAX who said her utility bill was overdue.
"For me, I didn't think twice because I had a couple instances where my bill had some issues with it in terms of their accounting."
She says the caller then demanded payment immediately to prevent the technician from coming to her business to shut down the power and couldn't take any other payment than a pre-paid credit card.
Sung said she attempted to contact ENMAX but ended up getting stuck on hold and opted for a call back instead. That's when she says she made her final mistake.
"The person who called back said they were from ENMAX was not from ENMAX; it was the scammer."
Sung says she lost about $2,400 to the scammers and wants her story to be a warning to others not to fall into the same trap.
"I am a logical, practical person," she says. "I feel like I could have prevented this. I work seven days a week just to earn my money but when somebody who does nothing scams you. It feels stupid. It affects you personally."
Officials say that ENMAX will never disconnect power without first working with customers through an established process.
If you are concerned about your ENMAX account, you can contact the company directly at 310-2010.
Further information about scams and how to protect yourself can be found on ENMAX’s website.