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Thursday September 4th, 2014

Posted at 10:36am

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Essex County OPP are warning the public about a number of home renovation scams.

They say scams usually begin with a cold-call door knock by someone offering to do repair work or sell merchandise and the scams usually fall into categories such as driveway paving, lawn-care services, roofing, or home appliance sales for items such as air conditioners or water heaters.

Police say the suspects claim to be in the area for just one day and use high pressure tactics to convince the homeowner to purchase the service or item.

After receiving cash deposits from customers, police say the suspects often do not return with the merchandise as promised nor do they arrive at a later date to complete the purchased service. In some cases, according to police, the service purchased is completed haphazardly and at a much higher cost than previously agreed upon.

Police say legitimate companies will not offer you a deal that’s too good to be true, nor expect a decision immediately without a written quote. They say you can always ask for business references.

Local company Fahrhall says there are some key signs to identify if companies are reputable.

“The person should be dressed in a company uniform displaying their name,” says marketing coordinator Rebecca Abray. “Check to make sure they are driving a company vehicle that shows their logo and phone number. Ask for a business card or to see company credentials such as an ID card.”

Police warn that the target victims of this crime tend to be senior citizens but all homeowners may be susceptible.

Abray say it’s also fairly easy to quickly check if a company is legitmate.

“Mobile devices make it very easy and fast nowadays to search the company online,” she said. “Simply ask the person to wait a few moments outside while you check for online reviews.

Abray says never give out or show anyone your personal information such as your credit card, gas or electricity bill and never feel pressured to sign a contract on the spot.

Anyone who thinks they may have been scammed are asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 where you may be eligible to receive a cash reward of up to $2000.

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