FPM Week 4: Business Fraud

March is Fraud Prevention Month in Canada and throughout the month the Medicine Hat Police Service Community Safety Unit is sharing information to help residents to recognize, reject and report common frauds and scams. This week’s focus is on business and service scams.

Service scams make up most of the face-to-face frauds reported to the Medicine Hat Police Service. Service scams can include home renovation scams by unlicensed contractors, as well as door-to-door fundraising scams which will often target seniors.

With spring in the air, homeowners will often begin thinking about completing renovations planned for over the long winter months. Before engaging a potential contractor, it is very important to ask questions ahead of time and request the names of past clients as references to confirm the quality of their work. Professional contractors will have no issues with providing you with this information and photos of their previous work. Always be wary of contractors who request payment in full prior to beginning any work.

Be cautious with new contractors or service companies who do not have ties to your community, and show up unsolicited, going door-to-door offering services such as; gutter cleaning, eavestrough repair/replacement, siding, and fascia repairs. Often, once they secure a down payment or total payment for a project in advance they will often leave the community and effectively close their fake business and the homeowner will be out the money paid. Once you have paid, it becomes a civil court matter for you to fight to have your work completed.

Always be extremely cautious when hiring someone from an online resource such as Craig’s list, Kijiji, or a Facebook group. Often, these “businesses” will operate on a buyer beware policy and will offer no reimbursement if the deal falls through. Never pay upfront over the internet for services to be completed. These online communities can be an excellent place to locate a potential service provider but always meet with the contractor in person and go through the proper steps to verify their credentials before hiring them to complete any work.

If someone comes to your door, claiming to represent a company or community organization, always ask to see his or her identification badge or supporting documentation before donating funds. Licensed businesses that plan door-to-door sales will be issued photo identification by the City of Medicine Hat. If they cannot produce ID, there is a good chance that it is a scam. Even if they have an ID badge, but something still does not feel right, do not allow yourself to be pressured into donating money and contact the Medicine Hat Police Service at 403-529-8481 or the City’s Business License Department at 403-525-8820 to report the suspicious behavior.

As a general rule, when it comes to your money it is always good to be skeptical!

To learn more about common frauds and scams visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website at

Media Contact:

Sgt Adam Gregory
Medicine Hat Police Service
Community Support Unit
Ph: 403-529-8451