Unlike our neighbours to the south, Durham Region has yet to see any significant snowfall this winter. However, in anticipation of typical February weather conditions, residents are being warned about the impending arrival of fraudulent snow removal companies.
These operations have been in circulation for the past couple of winters and are expected to be out again this year as the snow begins to fall.
Fraudsters are most likely to target the elderly and solicit their business door-to-door or by phone. They will likely offer quotes and request hefty deposits. They may also present contracts that include fine print details of how much snow is required to be on the ground before they will remove it.
In many cases contracts are signed and funds are collected, and the snow removal company never returns to do the work.
There are several precautions you can take to avoid being scammed this winter.
- Never pay in full
- Insist the contractor provides references, and follow up
- Check for the company online and with the Better Business Bureau
- Create a contract outlining the minimum amount of snowfall that has to occur before the contractor attends to plow or shovel
- Ensure that the contract clearly states that the entire driveway is included, not just the portion for a single vehicle to park
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
- When in doubt, contact a member of the DRPS Major Fraud Unit
Take a look at our "Protect Yourself From Door-to-Door Scams" video here to learn more about other common door-knock scams.
If you suspect you have been a victim of a fraudulent contractor please contact the DRPS Major Fraud Organized Crime Section at 1-888-579-1520 ext. 5702. Anonymous information can be sent to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or www.durhamregionalcrimestoppers.ca
Door to Door (JPG file, 257.8K bytes)