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HomeNewsOPP warning of "complex" door-to-door sales scam

OPP warning of “complex” door-to-door sales scam

According to the provincial police, a “multi-layered” door-to-door scam is leaving victims with poor renovations, liens, or a mortgage on their homes. 

According to Provincial Constable Lisa Cruz with the Serious Fraud Office, despite rules banning door-to-door sales, this scam has continued. “Those involved in these frauds are persuasive and persistent,” she adds. 

She explains the fraud starts at the door or with a phone call. Cruz says “compelling tactics” are used to persuade the homeowner that whatever the would-be fraudster is hawking is needed. 

Once the work is done, Cruz says the situation gets worse. She explains someone claiming to be from a law firm will reach out to the victim offering them help to get out of previously signed contracts, remove possible liens, and consolidate incurred debts. However, it’s all dependent on the victim signing the exit contract.

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As part of the contract, the fake lawyer may tell the victim they’re eligible for a grant. If they agree to take the money, a “home renovation” company may reach out and persuade the victim to sign a contract and speak with a finance company on the phone. Cruz says the victim is led to believe this is required to comply with the grant, however, it’s actually the process to have a mortgage approved on their home. 

The funds are deposited into the victim’s bank account, but it’s actually funds from the home equity mortgage taken out on their home. Cruz says the victim is told not to touch the money because it has to go to the renovation work, as well as to the payments they were making for installed equipment.

Cruz says the best way to be protected from a scam like this is to never answer the door for unexpected guests and to never allow unsolicited visitors inside. She also suggests never making a decision on the spot and taking the time to ask questions about what’s being offered. 

“Renovations in these frauds have included: flooring, painting, smart thermostats, vanities, sinks, toilets, showers, kitchens, cabinets, and insulation,” says Cruz. “They are often poor quality and are left unfinished.”

Cruz says victims of fraud should call their local police service and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.

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