ORILLIA – OPP officials say door-to-door scams continue to pose a threat to residents and businesses across the province.
“The individuals may use high pressure tactics and can be aggressive,” states an OPP press release. “Consumers may find themselves in a situation where they purchase a product or sign up for a service they neither need nor want.”
OPP officials say police have received an increased number of complaints from homeowners about fraudsters who visit their homes and “use compelling tactics to persuade the homeowner or occupant that a new appliance, contract or service is required.”
In 2020, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) received 1,641 complaints related to service scams affecting 863 Ontario residents, for a loss of close to $2.9 million. In 2021, the CAFC received 127 reports from Ontario victims, with a reported loss of $695,454.
Understand your rights
In 2018, Ontario banned unsolicited, door-to-door sales of air cleaners, air conditioners, air purifiers, duct cleaning services, furnaces, water filters, water heaters, water purifiers, water softeners, water treatment devices as well as bundles of these goods and services.
In 2017, Ontario banned energy retailers from signing up customers for an energy contract while at their homes to give consumers the ability to make choices at their own pace and with better information.
Residents can protect themselves by asking for the name, photo ID and company/charity name of anyone soliciting door to door. Get any offer(s) in writing, ask for literature and don’t feel pressured to make a decision on the spot. Never share any personal information or copies of bills or financial statements. Don’t let anyone enter your home unless you invited them and/or you have taken steps to verify who they are and know your rights under the Trespass to Property Act.
If you believe you have become a victim of fraud, contact your local police and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or report online at www.antifraudcentre.ca. You can also call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or report the incident online at ontariocrimestoppers.ca.