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Spring Scams – Don’t Get Stung by the Scammer

Spring Scams – Don’t Get Stung by the Scammer
April 3rd, 2019 - Police & the Community

Once the snow melts and homeowners are  once again able to turn their attention to the outside of their homes, they need to be aware that Spring often brings out the return of the door-to-door scam artist.

These scammers often show up at your door offering great Spring deals on everything from roofing to driveway repair and replacement to yard related tasks such as landscaping and maintenance. Legitimate businesses that go door-to-door will do so with knowledgeable employees that wear and carry identification that has their picture, name and the company that they are representing. If they don’t have any visible identification, as a homeowner, you have the right to ask for proof of who they are and who they are representing. If they cannot produce this, then you can and should ask them to leave. Police are reminding homeowners to never let someone into your home unless you have contacted them and asked them to come for a specific reason. Flyers that are delivered with the mail allow you to research out the company and determine if the service they are offering is one that is right for you.

Catching a homeowner off guard is the way scammers often capitalize and will try to take advantage. A down payment may be requested, but again police warn homeowners that a small amount is only necessary and only if requested. When a significant down payment is requested and provided by a homeowner, this is when police often get called after the promised work is never provided and the person fails to show up.

As a homeowner, you too need to do your homework as well. A satisfied homeowner will always share the name of tradesperson who has done work for them and qualified, licensed and professional service providers pride themselves on this word of mouth recommendation.

Before you decide to pay any money or sign a contract, remember to ask for and where possible, check up on references. You can also contact your local Better Business Bureau to determine if there are any issues or complaints with this potential service provider.

The Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services website can also be referenced at www.ontario.ca/ministry-government-and-consumer-services if you are unsure about a seller that comes to your door and what your rights are if you sign a contract. Remember too, that personal information such as household bills and in particular, those that pertain to gas or electricity should never be shared as they contain very specific information about you and your home. A home visit by a representative from the City of Barrie or utility provider will see that person wearing proper identification; they will already have information on you and your home and should never need to see your bills.

The Barrie Police Service reminds homeowners to never let a stranger into your home and that if it sounds too good to be true, then it likely is and it is best to simply indicate you are not interested and close your door. Any suspicious activity should always be reported so that others do not fall prey to these door-to-door individuals who are doing nothing more than searching for their next victim.

Prepared By:  Peter Leon
                       Corporate Communications Coordinator