Nanaimo RCMP are issuing a warning to the public to be wary of fraudulent home repair contractors.
The warning was issued after a Nanaimo resident reported to police Tuesday about being duped out of several thousand dollars by a B.C.-based decking company found through an advertisement on Facebook.
“The majority of the money was requested up front, which the victim unfortunately agreed to,” said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, in an e-mail. “After the footings were put in they could no longer get hold of the contractor.”
Each year dozens of residents file similar reports of fraudulent work, unfinished work, overpayment, threats and intimidation and homeowners need to be extra vigilant during the summer months about home repair contractors knocking on doors and offering discount services, according to a police press release.
Some warning signs offers might be scam include contractors saying they have materials left over from a prior job, contractors that only accept cash payments, pressure for a homeowner to make an immediate decision to accept the offer and asking for the majority of payment up front.
Police advise people to always ask for references, ask to see a business licence, get several quotes and have someone trusted and knowledgeable about the work to review contractors. Customers should get a written quote and discuss payment options before work begins and never pay up front, police say.
The press release also advises that elderly people are more susceptible to fraud and people who have elderly friends, relatives or neighbours should try to ensure they are aware of the risks involved.
Anyone who knows of people practising fraudulent home repair work is asked to call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com or call 1-800-222-8477.