HRM Partners in Policing would like to offer some tips to help prevent property owners from being victimized as they arrange to have projects completed around their homes.
Every year, the HRP/RCMP Integrated Financial Crime Unit receives complaints from citizens who feel they have been defrauded after arranging to have work done on their property.
The most common complaints involve paving and landscaping work where an up-front deposit is required and little or no work is completed. The people involved in this type of scam also frequently change their company name which makes it difficult to hold them accountable when follow-up or warranty work is required.
To help limit your risk, HRM Partners in Policing offer the following tips:
- Check with the Better Business Bureau at www.atlanticprovinces.bbb.org to ensure you are dealing with a reputable company.
- Check with the Nova Scotia Registry of Joint Stock Companies at www.rjsc.gov.ns.ca to determine how long the company has been in operation.
- Query the name of the business and owner’s names on the Internet to see if there is any information that will help guide you in making a decision.
- Be leery of paying an up-front deposit. Consider the following:
- Pay for supplies directly and have them delivered to your property.
- Pay in installments as work is completed.
Although some of these cases may be civil in nature, if you have gone through a similar experience you should report it to police as there may be grounds to pursue criminal charges.
Remember, doing your homework before entering into an agreement may save you money in the long run.