A Sidney business owner is warning others of a scam where perpetrators use the threat of power disconnection. (Black Press Media file photo)

A Sidney business owner is warning others of a scam where perpetrators use the threat of power disconnection. (Black Press Media file photo)

Sidney business owner warns of power-disconnection scam

Scammers threaten would-be victims with power disconnection unless they pay up

A Sidney business owner is warning others of a scam where perpetrators use the threat of power disconnection to extort cash.

Christina Georgeadis of Waterlily Shoes said her staff received a call sometime between 10:45 and 11 a.m. Tuesday claiming that BC Hydro would cut off power by 11:30.

“Their trick is, they want to catch you off guard and they want you to be in a rush,” she said. “They don’t want you to have time to think about it.”

Georgeadis, who was away from the store when her staff fielded the initial call, then called a toll-free number (1-800-799-7591) to deal with the matter. It looked like a BC Hydro number and the message on the other end sounded identical to one BC Hydro uses.

With her computer open and showing the business had paid its bills to the point of having a credit, Georgeadis questioned the claim. The person on the other end, insisted the account showed an outstanding balance. “They gave me a case number and said they were putting me through to a manager,” she said.

RELATED: Spoofed phone numbers, requests for cash by mail among recent fraud attempts in Saanich

As Georgeadis talked to the manager, the scam became obvious as person on the other end insisted that she needed to pay the outstanding balance immediately as the order to disconnect power could not be stopped.

The person said that the required amount of just over $1,300 could not be paid online. It had to be paid in cash at a ‘special machine.’ Now playing along, Georgeadis received two addresses for the special machines in Surrey and eventually a QR code from a number with 604-prefix to access one of those machines. “They are actual real locations,” she said.

Georgeadis has since talked with RCMP, with the Mounties telling her that they cannot do much. “They said because I didn’t give money, I technically was not scammed,” she said. “Technically, no law was broken because I didn’t give them any money. They said the machine that he (the manager) was referring to was likely a Bitcoin machine. They said apparently you can take out an account with these Bitcoin and you can actually put cash into them. The businesses are not likely complicit in any scam. It’s just that they have these machines in place and that these people are using them.”

Georgeadis said this incident could have been a one-off, but encourages people to be conscious of scams.

The Canadian Fraud Centre urges individuals to be aware of “urgent pleas” that play on their emotions. and verify the identity of companies before taking any actions as scammers will use real company names.

“Watch out for fake or deceptive ads, or spoofed emails,” it reads. “Always verify the company and its services are real before you contact them.”

For more information, see the Canadian Fraud Centre at https://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/protect-protegez-eng.htm.


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead in ‘targeted incident’ on Sooke Road

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

A resurfacing of the tennis court in Metchosin is being eyed for the community. However, funding opportunities still need to be solidified for the project. (Michelle Cabana/Black Press Media)
Renewed surface eyed for Metchosin tennis court

Funding source must first be solidified in order for project to happen

A decade into the 100-year blueprint for restoring the Bowker Creek watershed, Soren Henrich, director of the Friends of Bowker Creek Society, feels positive about the future of conservation and daylighting of the creek. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Ten years in, Greater Victoria’s 100-year Bowker Creek blueprint gets a boost

Victoria council passes several restoration recommendations

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

More than ever before, as pandemic conditions persist, the threat of data breaches and cyberattacks continues to grow, according to SFU professor Michael Parent. (Pixabay photo)
SFU expert unveils 5 ways the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed cybersecurity

Recognizing these changes is the first in a series of steps to mitigate them once the pandemic ends, and before the next: Michael Parent

Kevin Haughton is the founder/technologist of Courtenay-based Clearflo Solutions. Scott Stanfield photo
Islander aims Clearflo clean drinking water system at Canada’s remote communities

Entrepreneur $300,000 mobile system can produce 50,000 litres of water in a day, via solar energy

Most Read