Nanaimo RCMP are cautioning the public to be wary of people offering services door-to-door.
Since March 1, police have had reports of four incidents of individuals knocking on doors and offering to sell and install home water heaters and water purification systems. According to police, the only identification the people offering the services could produce was a homemade business card for a company that could not be traced or contacted, nor did they have business licences. They were issued tickets under the city’s business bylaw.
To date, the Harewood area has been frequented.
“This is not an uncommon occurrence and when law enforcement gets involved, the individuals often move on to other jurisdictions,” said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, in a press release.
March is Fraud Awareness Month, a time of year when neighbourhoods on the Island and elsewhere are visited by people promising cheap labour, home repairs, estimates on appliance repairs and a variety of other services, according to the RCMP press release.
There are common telltale signs of a scam, police say. In the overwhelming majority of incidents the scam artists don’t possess business licences. They often prey upon neighbourhoods where seniors reside and their behaviour can be aggressive and they will often bully their way in into a home to convince the homeowner that their furnace, water heater, or other appliances are faulty and need to be repaired immediately. Often, a deposit of half the amount quoted is asked for and in most cases the work is never completed.
If someone knocks on the door offering services, always ask to see their business licence, police advise. If one cannot be produced, homeowners should not proceed further. If one is produced, it should be carefully examined for authenticity. Police recommend asking for references and advising workers that friend or family member will be present to observe the work.
People who have been targeted by door-knockers should contact the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345 to report the incident or to ask for advice. To learn more about scams and frauds, go to www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/scams-fraudes/index-eng.htm.