Niagara police warning residents to beware of “driveway scammers”

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Published April 12, 2023 at 1:05 pm

Niagara police are warning residents to beware of fraudsters offering to fix weathered driveways.

According to police, “driveway scammers” might try to target unsuspecting homeowners who want to fix or improve their driveways by “overpromising, under-quoting and, unfortunately, under-delivering.”

Police say the fraudsters will travel from door-to-door selling driveway paving and/or resurfacing services that are attractively priced. If the homeowner agrees to a deal, the scammer will request a large cash down payment. The work that follows will then be subpar or left incomplete, even after the homeowner pays the full price.

“Once a payment is received the ‘contractor’ is usually never heard from again, phone calls will go unanswered thus leaving the consumer with driveway damage or a partially completed project,” police said in a news release.

Police say victims have reported being targeted by aggressive and pushy contractors who are insistent on a large cash deposit.

Often, a series of business cards, pamphlets and basic printed contracts accompany the door-to-door sales pitch. That said, the companies themselves are difficult to research and are often unregistered and have no official online presence. Police say victims have often been unable to reach these companies by phone after paying for work.

Police say anyone hiring a contract should get recommendations from trusted sources, ensure the company is insured, avoid cash deals, check references, be wary of unsolicited offers, take pictures, educate themselves about the scope of work required and remember that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Police also say a reputable company will put everything–deposits, start date, end date and more–on paper.

Anyone who believes they have been a victim of a scam should report the incident to local police and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center. 

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