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  Protect Yourself Against Scam Artists

Aug 28, 2009 12:41 ET

Durham Regional Police believe that residents of the area should be aware of the tools and tricks used by many door-to-door scam artists to help protect their homes, families and finances.

Legitimacy
Although many door-to-door salespeople can be legitimately representing a company or service, it is important to check for proper identification. Many scam artists will have no I.D. or one with very little information, for example, no photo. If you are interested in the product or service, but are still skeptical, ask for a brochure or a phone number for the company and do some research. If the salesperson has nothing to give you or demands a purchase decision right away, chances are it is a scam.

Behaviour
Beware of aggressive body language from any door-to-door salesperson. Some scammers will place their hands or feet in the way of closing your door. By law, they are required to leave your property if you ask them to. However, some may even come back a day or two later, even once you have declined their offer. They may also get irritated or even angry when you turn them down or say “no” to whatever it is they have to offer.

Safety
Some scam artists might claim to be technicians or specialists, and ask to see a certain part of equipment in your home. Do not let any person you are not expecting in your house. Some door-to-door salespeople might also ask to see financial documents such as water or heating bills. Make sure to protect yourself and never give away any personal information, especially credit card numbers.

Warning Signs and Other Tips
Use your intuition when detecting a scam-artist. If you feel suspicious about the person at your door, chances are you’re right. Also, many scam artists will not accept cheques, since they can be cancelled if something goes wrong. If the person at your door claims to be collecting money for a charity, make sure to check that they have legitimate identification (as mentioned above) as well as proper tax receipts.

If you suspect that a fraudulent business is being solicited by a door-to-door salesperson, try to collect the following information and report it to Police:

▪ a description of the salesperson
▪ a description of the person’s vehicle (if there is one present)
▪ a description of the services offered, and a business name
▪ talk to your neighbours and find out if they had a similar experience

For more information, please contact our Fraud Unit at (905) 579-1520.

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