Police Warn About Increase In Door-To-Door Scams

Wednesday June 3rd, 2015

Posted at 2:06pm

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OPP in Essex County are warning the public about a number of high-pressure, door-to-door scams.

“The Ontario Provincial Police would like to remind citizens about the potential of various home renovation scams and are appealing to the residents to report any suspicious activity,” says OPP Constable Stephanie Moniz.

“Various types of scams, such as driveway paving, lawn-care services, roofing, home appliance sales for items such as air conditioners or water heaters, usually begin with a cold-call door knock by someone offering to do repair work and/or sell merchandise,” she said. “Often, the suspects claim to be in the area for just one day or have only a limited supply of this discounted product. These scammers use hard pressure tactics to convince the homeowner to purchase the service or item. The target victims of this crime tend to be senior citizens but all homeowners may be susceptible to this type of scam.”

Moniz says police are specifically noticing an increase in door to door asphalt sales.

“While some companies are reputable, it is up to you, as the consumer, to do your homework and ensure that the company; as well as, the service they are providing is legitimate,” she said. “Often times, the scamming company will quote you for a certain amount and by the end of the actual work that price has increased threefold and the quality of the work is less than desirable. Companies will threaten lawsuits or other actions in hopes to force the payment of the inflated price.”

Moniz says that fraudulent companies will often ask for up-front payment to start a job. After receiving the up-front cash deposits, scammers often do not return with the merchandise as promised nor do they arrive at a later date to complete the purchased service, she said. Moniz says in some cases, the service purchased is completed haphazardly and costly repairs will be needed to correct the job.

“The Essex County OPP wishes to remind the public that there are reputable home renovation companies in Windsor-Essex County and a legitimate company will not offer you a deal which sounds too good to be true nor expect a business decision immediately without a written quote,” said Moniz. “Residents are advised to ask for and to check business references before committing to having work done. Be vigilant with all door to door business propositions and report any suspicious activity to police for further investigation.”

“If someone comes to your door, ask to see some identification,” she said. “You do not have to let them in and they must leave if you ask them to.”

Before you decide to pay any money, it’s easy to take the time to find out about their business and their offer: you can contact the Competition Bureau at 1-800-348-5358 or visit www.competitionbureau.gc.ca.

You can also contact the local Better Business Bureau or the Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services at www.ontario.ca/ministry-government-and-consumer-services if you are unsure about a seller that comes to your door.

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