Watch out for scammers in aftermath of flood, police say

Be wary of people offering disaster relief or water filtration services, the OPP says. The police say con artists may use recent flooding to take advantage of people’s generosity or prey on flood victims. A press release from the OPP doesn’t report any specific incidents related to the flooding, but it lists examples of fraudulent activity residents can look out for.

For information about what to do if your property has been affected by flooding, read The Review’s story here.

Charity Fraud

The OPP suggests doing careful research before donating to a charity for those affected by the recent floods. The warning signs of a charity scam include: high pressure or threatening telemarketers who want you to contribute immediately, someone calling and thanking you for a pledge you don’t remember making, and fake charities with names that sound similar to legitimate ones. If you’re uncertain if a charity is legitimate, make sure to get the complete name of the charity. Then, you can do some research online, including looking it up in the Canada Revenue Agency database of registered charities (http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/chrts-gvng/lstngs/menu-eng.html). If a charity calls you to solicit money, try calling the charity back directly to make sure it is aware of the solicitation. Finally, don’t give out any personal information over the phone unless you made the call and the number came from a trusted source.

Contractor/disaster relief fraud

The OPP suggests asking to see the identification of anyone who claims to be from your insurance company or a building inspector. Ask for references from anyone doing repairs to your property, and check out the company at the  Ontario Ministry of Consumer and Business Services (http://www.sse.gov.on.ca/mcs/en/pages/default.aspx). Ask for written estimates, and don’t sign a contract if you feel pressured or rushed.

Home water filtration scam

If a salesperson comes to your door, the police recommend asking for a photo ID and getting the name of the person and business. Don’t share any personal information, and on any contract, make sure the name of the company matches the one of the salesperson’s business card. Don’t rely on a salesperson’s opinion on whether your water heater or filtration system has to be replaced, and remember that utility companies, municipalities, and government agencies don’t send salespeople door-to-door. If a salesperson won’t leave or is making you feel unsafe, call the police.


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