The Lennox and Addington (L&A) County Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) would like to remind the public to takes steps to protect themselves against people requesting to buy houses for cash frauds and scams.
Often a scammer will contact a home owner before they contact them. They may claim they are an investor and will oftentimes deliver a note to a mail box or door. The letter will advise that they are interested in buying in the area and want to offer cash deals with no additional fees. They further offer no open houses and flexible closing and no need to evict tenants or repair anything.
Although there are certainly people who will offer cash for properties they will usually offer a very low price. Sometimes as little as 65% of the market value. Never go for the deal that sounds too good to be true.
Homeowners can follow some of these suggestions to prevent victimization:
- Never rush into making a deal or signing a contract. Take a few days to think about it.
- Ask for, and check references. The company can also be checked out with the Better Business Bureau and Ontario Ministry of Consumer and Business Services.
- Ask for a written estimate. Then get at least two more estimates from reputable businesses in your area.
- Have any proposed contract checked over by someone trustworthy (a lawyer is a good idea) before signing it.
- Do not provide any personal or banking information.
- Avoid cash deals.
- Get the right paperwork – written estimates and professional licenses.
- A written contract is your best protection as a consumer
- If in doubt contact Canadian Anti-Fraud centre
People can file a complaint through the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501, or they can use Crime Stoppers online at www.tipsubmit.com.