How to protect yourself from phone scams

The following is advice from the Halton Regional Police Service:

  • Identify the individual. Ask for photo identification. Get their name, name of the company or charity they represent.
  • All utility companies will send correspondence or book an appointment prior to accessing your home to do work.
  • Do not let them into your home unless you are sure they represent a reputable utility company.  If you are unsure, contact the company prior to permitting them into your home.  Have the individual wait outside while you contact the company.
  • When calling the company, look up to company’s contact information in the phone book or online.  Do not use contact information provided by the individual as it may be fake.
  • Never share personal information such as date of birth, banking information, credit card information, or Social Insurance Number.
  • Do not show them copies of bills or financial statements.
  • Never respond to unsolicited offers of service.
  • Research the company they represent.
  • Ask the person to leave their information and return next week. This will give you plenty of time to verify their credentials and the validity of the visit.
  • Never give cash to door-to-door people who are offering a service or demanding payment.
  • Be cautious of people that demand immediate and up-front payment.
  • Do not sign any contract unless you read the fine print.
  • If a contract is signed within the home, you have a cooling off period. For example, in Ontario consumers have the right to cancel a contract for any reason within a 10-day cooling off period. For water heater contracts, there is a 20-day cooling off period.

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