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Provincial police warning citizens about construction fraud

By CJ Goater Apr 18, 2024 | 11:50 AM

The Ontario Provincial Police is warning residents in northwestern Ontario about paving and construction fraud.

“Every year thousands of Canadians are victimized, and millions of dollars are lost through many forms of fraud,” said the OPP in a release. “To avoid becoming a victim, the OPP reminds residents to be alert to repair deals as fraudsters are persistent, persuasive, and at times aggressive.”

There are warning signs to identify when you may be a target of construction/paving fraud that can be found below:

  • Examination of these “contractors” often reveals the absence of an official online presence, and registration with local chambers of commerce, the Better Business Bureau or similar reputable organizations.
  • Fraudsters often contact individuals directly at their homes or via telephone, employing persuasive tactics about the necessity for a service they neither requested nor required. Exercise caution when opening your door to unexpected visitors or solicitors offering items or services.
  • Fraudsters employ professionally designed flyers and websites that have a legitimate appearance.
  • Most contractors will know how much material they need for a job, so if they show up at your door saying they have “leftover” from another job, be cautious.
  • If there’s no written contract with an up-front quote, and the price changes mid-job due to “unforeseen problems,” you’re at their mercy.
  • Fraudsters target vulnerable people, including seniors, and request cash payments for “today only” deals.
  • It’s a red flag when a payment is requested up-front or before the job is completed.

If you receive a fraudulent call, text, or email, or if you’ve been a victim of fraud or want to learn more information, you can reach out to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre by calling 1-888-495-8501 or clicking here.