Learning about the most common scams affecting our community will help you become scam savvy and possibly prevent you from being defrauded. Following are the most common scams that HRM Partners in Policing have seen in recent years:
Seniors’ Scam: In this situation, a senior citizen receives an urgent phone call or e-mail from a person claiming to be a family member or a lawyer acting on their behalf. The person says they’re in trouble and desperately need money, and asks that no one else be told about the situation. If this happens to you, don’t be pressured into sending money to get them out of trouble as it may be a scam. Call the police to help verify the caller’s claims before you act.
Firewood Scam: This scam involves citizens receiving much less firewood than what they paid for at the outset. In the majority of these cases, the victim orders the firewood over the phone from a number obtained from a roadside sign or on-line from any number of popular websites that allow people to advertise their goods and services. To prevent this or a similar situation from happening to you:
– always deal with reputable companies
– be at home for product delivery
– verify with the delivery driver that the information on the receipt is correct, including company name, address and phone number
– ask the driver for identification and write down the information
– write down the make, model and license plate number of the delivery vehicle
– report suspicious activity to police
Chimney Sweep Scam: This situation involves a group of people claiming to be professional chimney sweeps going door-to-door offering to clean/repair chimneys. After these individuals “inspect” the chimney, they advise the homeowner that major work is required. After agreeing to have the repairs done, the homeowner is presented with an excessive bill for work which was either minimal in nature or incomplete. The validity of the group’s qualifications is also questionable. Regardless of the type of work being done, you should:
– verify the authenticity of the company through the Better Business Bureau
– insist on a detailed quote of the work required
– demand an itemized bill of the work performed
– ensure the receipt includes the company name, address and phone number
– only pay by cash if you’re absolutely certain the business is legitimate
Remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
For more information on Fraud Prevention month, visit www.halifax.ca/police/FraudAwarenessMonth.