Toronto seeing surge in home reno scams, likely due to warm weather, police say

Toronto police say they are seeing a sharp increase in home renovation scams across the city and are warning residents to be on high alert.

In a release on Thursday, police suggest the recent uptick in the frauds could be due to the unusually warmer weather this fall.

“These frauds are pervasive, however, there has been a recent surge in reports likely due to the unseasonably warm weather,” reads the release.

Toronto saw temperature records twice this week as warm air blanketed the region. The early October heat wave followed a warmer-than-usual September.

Police allege the suspects involved in the scams typically go door-to-door and hand out flyers for renovation companies that purport to offer a variety of services, including roofing, paving and fencing. Police say the companies advertised are either fraudulent or do not exist.

“The work is usually never completed or is substandard and done with poor quality products.”

Elderly or vulnerable residents are often targeted, police say. The suspects use pressure tactics in order to begin work right away and typically demand payments be in cash of bank draft.

Police are out with a number of tips in order to help people avoid falling victim to the scams. These tips include:

  • Be wary of unsolicited contractors going door to door, especially those using pressure tactics and demanding payment in cash/bank draft or demanding a large down payment
  • Avoid impulse decisions to hire a contractor. Do your research (online, references, word of mouth).
  • Select a reputable company and obtain a detailed written contract
  • There is no obligation to speak to a salesperson soliciting at your door
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is

Anyone in Toronto who thinks they may be a victim of fraud can find more information here.

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