RELEASE — March is Fraud Prevention Month and Kingston Police and Utilities Kingston are partnering to help spread fraud prevention tips to local residents and businesses.
“Utility customers are targets for scams at the door, over the phone and through the Internet. When in doubt, don’t be afraid to shut the door, hang up the phone, delete the email or close your Internet connection. You can always call us to confirm the truth of any sales pitch,” cautions Chief Customer and Technology Officer of Utilities Kingston, Kevin McCauley.
Kingston Police receive and investigate numerous complaints regarding suspicious door-to-door salespeople, phone calls and emails for many promotions and services.
Learn how to recognize, reject and report fraud with the following tips.
* New consumer protection rules came into effect in 2018, to protect consumers at the door.
+ Products and services that can no longer be offered or sold at your home (unless you initiate the transaction) include: furnaces, air conditioners, air cleaners, air purifiers, water heaters, water treatment devices, water purifiers, water filters, water softeners, duct cleaning services, or any good or service that performs or combines one or more of these functions.
+ If you sign a contract, for a restricted product and service, as a result of door-to-door marketing, or due to misleading marketing materials left at your home, the contract will be considered void and you can keep the goods or services without obligation.
* Be extra cautious about any unsolicited calls, emails or mailings.
* A door-to-door salesperson may falsely imply they are working with your utility company. Representatives from Utilities Kingston and Kingston Hydro do not go door-to-door for sales purposes. Utilities Kingston employees and contractors carry identification and you should always ask to see it.
* Scammers claiming to be from your utility company may call and threaten to disconnect utility services unless immediate payment is made. Utilities Kingston does not collect payment over the phone. View the ways to pay your utility bill.
* Don’t be afraid to shut the door, hang up the phone, delete the email or close your internet connection.
* Don’t purchase a product or service without carefully checking out the product, service and company.
* Don’t disclose personal information about your finances, bank accounts, credit cards, utility bills, social insurance and driver’s licence numbers to any business that can’t prove it is legitimate.
* At the door, always make sure you get a business card and look at the salesperson’s ID badge first. Ask to see their City-issued licence to sell door-to-door in Kingston.
* Remember, you have the right to ask salespeople to leave your property.
* If someone comes to your door to sell restricted products and services, don’t be afraid to shut the door and call Consumer Protection Ontario at 1-800-889-9768.
* Report incidents to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501. This agency collects information on fraud and works closely with police to solve these crimes.
* If you receive a suspicious phone call or visit at your door from someone claiming to represent Utilities Kingston, hang up and call to let us know. A customer service representative is available Monday to Friday from 8 AM to 5 PM by calling 613-546-0000.
* If people refuse to leave your property or you become a victim of fraud through monetary loss, call Kingston Police at 613-549-4660.
Fraud Prevention Month is spearheaded by the Competition Bureau.
Release via: City of Kingston