The warm weather is here to stay, and DRPS would like to warn the community about common door-to-door scams, which typically increase in the summertime.
Many companies canvas door to door, offering new windows, landscaping work, home renovations, driveway paving and much more. While many of these companies are legitimate, there are many that are not. Fraudulent individuals take advantage of the warm weather to promote illegitimate businesses, using fraudulent practices and high-pressure tactics to sway residents into hiring them, or buying their product. These scammers typically target more vulnerable members of the community, like the elderly, who may feel pressured into saying yes. So far this summer, there have been regular reports of scammers trying to sell air conditioners, furnaces and hot water tanks.
In many cases, these companies provide quotes, which increase drastically once the work is complete, forcing the home owner to pay the high price tag. They may require a down payment for demolition or materials, and then never come back to finish the job. Even though these scammers may appear professional, it is important to take these few precautions before handing over any money or signing a contract.
The first thing you can do to help protect yourself and your loved ones is to speak up. Better educate the vulnerable members of our community by telling your parents, seniors, and anyone that you know that these scams happen, and that they are exactly that - scams.
Get a minimum of three quotes from various contractors before making a decision. Also, ask for references from past clients and then follow up with them.
Do your research
Research the company online before hiring them, checking for any negative or suspicious reviews. Try using a company that someone you know has hired before, and ask them for their opinion on the kind of work that was done.
If the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Be wary of over-inflated down payments, and trust your gut if things seem suspicious.
Unfortunately, this type of fraudulent activity is rarely reported. If you have information regarding these scammers or feel you have been a victim of fraud, 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 and tipsters may be eligible for a $2,000 cash reward.
Door-to-door scam (JPG file, 320.6K bytes)