Codiac RCMP: “The Codiac Regional RCMP is investigating several reports of a scam in the Greater Moncton area where people are claiming to set up hot water tank inspections on behalf of NB Power. The RCMP has determined there is no such inspection program being conducted.”
In most instances, the complainants have received a call from a man with a foreign accent who asks to set up an appointment to inspect the homeowner’s hot water tank on behalf of NB Power. In some cases, the caller has asked to inspect the homeowner’s furnace or air conditioning unit. In one incident, an appointment was booked by the homeowner and the home was attended by two men, believed to be of East Indian descent, in their late 20’s who arrived in a grey Kia Soul. The two men were denied entry to the home.
Anyone who has received a similar call and has provided personal information to the caller is asked to call their local police. If you have not provided personal information or otherwise cooperated with the caller, there is no need to contact police but the incident can be reported to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
Anyone with information on those responsible for this scam is asked to contact the Codiac Regional RCMP at 506-857-2400. Information can also be provided anonymously through Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), or by Secure Web Tips at www.crimenb.ca.
Fake utility workers aren’t the only major door-to-door scam that people will sometimes fall for, though — according to WTOP News in Washington, the other top door-to-door scams are fake census surveyors & fake home security offers.
“Scam 2: Fake census surveyors
How it works: According to scambusters.org, some scammers come in the form of a bogus Census worker who “turns up at your front door and starts asking detailed questions about your personal finances and demands information including your Social Security number (which, just for the record, the real Census does not collect).”
Why this scam works: The con artist is using the authority principle to his or her advantage. This principle states that we’re more likely trust people who are seen as an “official” or “expert.”
This principle makes sense if you think think about it. Who are you more likely to trust to diagnose you for an illness?: A person who calls themselves a doctor and wears a white coat? A person who calls themselves a doctor and wears shorts and a Hawaiian shirt?
Probably the former, because they look like an expert.
What to do: If someone shows up at your front door saying they’re from the Census Bureau, you should:
- Always ask to see their identification and badge before answering any questions.
- Inspect the worker for items they should have on them (i.e. a handheld device, a Census Bureau [or Statistics Canada] canvas bag and a confidentiality notice).
- [Call the police if you believe they are fraudsters]
Scam 3: Fake home security offers
How it works: According to the FTC, some con artists will come to your home and make a variety of fake home security offers.
If a home security representative shows up unannounced, you’ll know if it’s a scam if they:
- Claim that several robberies have been reported in the area and so they’re offering free security inspections.
- Make a limited-time offer and claim that you need to act now.
- Pressure their way into your home and then refuses to leave.
- Claim your security monitoring company has gone out of business and that a new company has taken over the accounts. So of course you have to buy new equipment and sign new contracts.
Why this scam works: These offers take advantage of both of the above psychological tactics:
- Loss aversion: Fear of missing out on a deal or fear of a potential break-in.
- Authority principle: The con artist says they are your new security company and are dressed appropriately to make you think that that’s the case.
What do you do in this situation?
- If they’re trying to sell you something new: Just tell them “no” at your doorstep. If a salesperson continues to pressure you after you’ve asked them to leave (if they’re inside or outside your home), call the police.
- If they claim to be replacing your old security company: Call your current monitoring company to confirm. Normally, your security company would tell you about this ahead of time by mail, email or telephone, not by a random, unannounced visit by a representative from another company.”
Another one to watch out for:
*Photo source: Protecting Your Pocket