Toronto police issue warning amid rising scam reports about moving services advertised online

The Toronto Police Service has issued a warning over an online moving scam after multiple victims came forward reporting being asked to pay hundreds of dollars more. Nick Westoll explains.

The Toronto Police Service has issued a warning for those who are booking movers after officers say they are receiving an uptick of reports from residents who say they are facing demands of hundreds of extra dollars.

“They’re advertising themselves as legitimate businesses when in fact they’re scamming people and doing what they can to take as much money from people as they can,” 41 Division Const. Chris Long told CityNews on Monday.

“They’re enticing people with low prices and generally speaking not a lot of items that they’re moving, but they’re trying to extract as much money as they can.”

Long said the service received complaints from across Toronto from people, many of whom were identified as students and newcomers. He said they booked mostly smaller moves (e.g. a bedroom or an apartment) through services advertised on online classified sites.

“We’ve been getting reports from people moving and the company that they’ve hired has pulled over into the side of the road or a gas station and are demanding more money from them, and this goes against consumers’ rights under Consumer Protection Ontario,” Long said.

RELATED: Beware of moving company scams during COVID-19

“It’s concerning … we’ve had some cases where people have been left outside in the rain, left outside in the snow, with all of their personal belongings dumped at the side of the road.”

Long encouraged residents looking to move to seek multiple estimates, adding under Ontario law the final bill can’t be more than 10 per cent of the estimate. He also said invoices must have full contact and insurance information.

Insurance information, including the policy number, is allowed to be asked for under the law, Long said.

During and after booking a move, he encouraged people to keep fulsome documentation and pictures as well as any text message or email exchanges. If anyone encounters a problem, Long encouraged people to contact officers.

“In some cases, these companies are committing offences under the Consumer Protection Act,” he alleged, adding officers might be able to respond roadside.

“We don’t want people feeling like they’re at the side of the road victim to a scam.”

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