RCMP issues warning about construction fraud scams
By: Christina Waldner
| Posted: Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 12:18 pm
Airdrie RCMP is warning residents about fraudulent contractors going door-to-door offering to fix hail damage in the wake of the hailstorm which caused more than $25 million in damage that hit Airdrie on Aug. 7.
According to RCMP Media Liaison Constable Jason Curtis, fraudsters are approaching homeowners with obvious damage to their residences, telling them that they can repair the damage without involving the homeowner’s insurance company.
Curtis said the fraudster, then take photos of the home’s damage, collects a cash deposit and leaves with a promise to return to complete the work.
When no one returns to do the repairs, the homeowner is out of pocket for the deposit, he explained.
Curtis said RCMP received a number of complaints from residents who were approached, however, he was unable to say exactly how many.
“I originally got a call from K- Division (in Edmonton) asking me about it. I asked a few other officers here about it and (was told) people had reported something along those lines,” he said.
“We don’t know how many actual files we have on it. We just wanted to get the information out to prevent this from happening to people.”
“Contractors attending door-to-door is not common business practice and is suspicious in itself,” said Curtis.
“It is recommended to research companies and request credentials prior to entering into business contracts or giving deposits.”
The warning from RCMP comes after the Better Business Bureau (BBB) issued a similar warning on Aug. 8.
BBB offers tips to consider if your home, business or vehicle has suffered hail damage:
• Do your research. Check with the BBB before you hire a contractor and avoid businesses who come to your door with a “good deal.”
• Check out their online BBB Business Reviews to see ratings and business history records.
• Get it in writing. Request bids from three different contractors that include costs, timelines and warranty information.
• Check licensing and credentials. Check with the City of Airdrie to determine if inspections, permits or licensing is required. Contact Service Alberta for information on required provincial licensing. If the contractor can’t prove his qualifications, walk away.
• Beware of upfront fees. If a contractor or repairman request full payment upfront, it could be a red flag.