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Victim of fraudsters: Business loses money to Nova Scotia Power impersonators

Peter Dorey says his Halifax company fell victim to a phone scammer impersonating Nova Scotia Power.
Peter Dorey says his Halifax company fell victim to a phone scammer impersonating Nova Scotia Power.

METRO HALIFAX - After losing more than $800 in a phone scam, one local man is warning others about the fraudsters who knew a “disturbing” amount of detail about his business.

Peter Dorey, who handles sales for a local manufacturing company, said his business got  a call around 11 a.m. May 25 from a man claiming to be from Nova Scotia Power (NSP). He said their account was in arrears and unless they paid up their electricity would be shut off by noon.

“He was a very quick-witted gentleman. They actually had a lot of our account details and information,” Dorey said May 26, adding the caller knew their business operated out of a home and had two accounts – and could recite their payment history.

“They really did their homework,” he said.

Because the fake representative stated a four-digit identification number before forwarding the call to his “boss,” Dorey said their office manager thought everything was legitimate and followed instructions to go to a nearby convenience store, buy a pre-paid credit card and call them back with the information to “settle the account.”

Dorey said they were told if they sent proof of payment to NSP, they would get back the difference between their bill and the $844 they sent in, plus a 30 per cent discount on next month.

“Looking back on it now it was kind of silly and he did pull the wool over our eyes, but it was the amount of personal information that they had,” Dorey said.

It wasn’t until Tuesday morning that Dorey said their manager started worrying about the odd call the day before, and phoned NSP to double check.

That’s when she was told NSP employees use five digit numbers, and their account was up to date, Dorey said.

“We were kind of alarmed and a little perturbed,” Dorey said. “That’s the most disturbing part … they had a lot of information on us which made it appear to be 100 per cent believable.”

They have since filed their case with the RCMP’s fraud division, Dorey said, but got the impression they likely have to chalk up the $844 payment as a loss, since it has already been withdrawn from the card’s account.

“It’s important that people know this, so that nobody else falls victim,” Dorey said.

 

Nova Scotia Power familiar with phone scam

A Nova Scotia Power spokesman said it looks like a Halifax business is the latest victim in a string of phone scams impersonating the utility.

May 26,, Nova Scotia Power (NSP) spokesman David Rodenhiser said the company has e been working to warn customers of the phone scam involving pre-paid credit cards since last December.

Read an earlier story on the scam.

“It’s really unfortunate,” Rodenhiser said after learning of Peter Dorey’s business that lost more than $800.

Rodenhiser said NSP had a banner on its website until last week and sent a note in the spring mail-out warning of this particular scam, since the company had received word about businesses being targeted in December and January.

The utility would never ask a customer to cover a bill with a pre-paid card, Rodenhiser said, and there’s “a lot of interaction” between NSP and the customer before any power is shut off.

Until now, Rodenhiser said the companies targeted were mainly restaurants but NSP has been working with local police and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre who are aware of the issue.

He said the scammers aren’t likely operating out of N.S. since he’s heard of similar cases across the country where residents have been tricked by callers impersonating their local utility.

Peter Dorey, who handles sales for a local manufacturing company, said his business got  a call around 11 a.m. May 25 from a man claiming to be from Nova Scotia Power (NSP). He said their account was in arrears and unless they paid up their electricity would be shut off by noon.

“He was a very quick-witted gentleman. They actually had a lot of our account details and information,” Dorey said May 26, adding the caller knew their business operated out of a home and had two accounts – and could recite their payment history.

“They really did their homework,” he said.

Because the fake representative stated a four-digit identification number before forwarding the call to his “boss,” Dorey said their office manager thought everything was legitimate and followed instructions to go to a nearby convenience store, buy a pre-paid credit card and call them back with the information to “settle the account.”

Dorey said they were told if they sent proof of payment to NSP, they would get back the difference between their bill and the $844 they sent in, plus a 30 per cent discount on next month.

“Looking back on it now it was kind of silly and he did pull the wool over our eyes, but it was the amount of personal information that they had,” Dorey said.

It wasn’t until Tuesday morning that Dorey said their manager started worrying about the odd call the day before, and phoned NSP to double check.

That’s when she was told NSP employees use five digit numbers, and their account was up to date, Dorey said.

“We were kind of alarmed and a little perturbed,” Dorey said. “That’s the most disturbing part … they had a lot of information on us which made it appear to be 100 per cent believable.”

They have since filed their case with the RCMP’s fraud division, Dorey said, but got the impression they likely have to chalk up the $844 payment as a loss, since it has already been withdrawn from the card’s account.

“It’s important that people know this, so that nobody else falls victim,” Dorey said.

 

Nova Scotia Power familiar with phone scam

A Nova Scotia Power spokesman said it looks like a Halifax business is the latest victim in a string of phone scams impersonating the utility.

May 26,, Nova Scotia Power (NSP) spokesman David Rodenhiser said the company has e been working to warn customers of the phone scam involving pre-paid credit cards since last December.

Read an earlier story on the scam.

“It’s really unfortunate,” Rodenhiser said after learning of Peter Dorey’s business that lost more than $800.

Rodenhiser said NSP had a banner on its website until last week and sent a note in the spring mail-out warning of this particular scam, since the company had received word about businesses being targeted in December and January.

The utility would never ask a customer to cover a bill with a pre-paid card, Rodenhiser said, and there’s “a lot of interaction” between NSP and the customer before any power is shut off.

Until now, Rodenhiser said the companies targeted were mainly restaurants but NSP has been working with local police and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre who are aware of the issue.

He said the scammers aren’t likely operating out of N.S. since he’s heard of similar cases across the country where residents have been tricked by callers impersonating their local utility.

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