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Fake sales representatives posing as Ontario energy employees in Pembroke Ont.

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The Ontario Provincial Police is warning the public about a new scam circulating in Pembroke, Ont.

Police say they have received multiple calls from residents in the city reporting that they have been solicited by sales representatives claiming to be associated with the Ontario Energy Board (OEB). OPP notes that the OEB "does not engage and is not involved in any type of sales activity."

According to the OPP, the fraudster will call a homeowner asking to come to the home to conduct a green energy assessment in order to qualify for a green energy rebate. When the individual visits the home, police say they start using high pressure sales tactics to convince the owner to buy unnecessary products in order to qualify for the rebate.

"Service scams continue to pose a threat to Ontario consumers and businesses. Door-to-door salespeople can use high pressure tactics and can be aggressive in nature. Consumers may find themselves in a situation where they purchase a product or sign up for a service contract they neither need nor want," OPP said in a media release.

The Ontario government has implemented measures to protect consumers from aggressive and misleading sellers, including the banning of door‐to‐door sales of certain household appliances like air cleaners, air conditioners, air purifiers, duct cleaning services, furnaces, water filters, water heaters, water purifiers, water softeners and water treatment devices, police say.

Energy retailers are also banned "from signing up customers for an energy contract while at their homes to give consumers the ability to make choices about their energy supply at their own pace and with better information," OPP adds.

OPP is remdinding consumers of their rights. Here are a few tips to do so: 

  • Ask for photo ID, get the name of the person and the name of the company or charity they represent.
  • Be sure to get it in writing, ask for literature and don't feel pressured to make a decision on the spot.
  • Never share any personal information or copies of any bills or financial statements.
  • Research before you invest. Don't sign documents before reading them.
  • An energy retailer cannot sign you up for an energy contract while they are at your home.
  • For other contracts signed within the home, there is a cooling off period. For example, consumers in Ontario 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.

If you believe you have become a victim of fraud, call the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 to remain anonymous.

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