Door-to-door scams

The scam

Door-to-door scammers will pretend to be salespeople to convince you to buy a product or sign up for a service you don’t want or need.


Narrator: Ever heard this one? Telephone voice: Hello? Mrs Smith?

I’m sorry to tell you, but your COMPUTER is DEATHLY ILL!

It’s on its LAST LEGS! It’s going to die in seconds and you will lose ALL YOUR PERSONAL

INFORMATION!!! Uhhh… can we just take control of your computer

for a minute to...fix it? Narrator: Or how about THIS one?

Telephone voice: Mrs. Smith? This is your lucky day!!

I’m going to singlehandedly lower the interest rate on your credit card.

You’ll save thousands and thousands of dollars… … if you just verify your credit card number

by giving it to me right now!! Narrator: From bogus extended warranties to

door to door sales to high-pressure sales tactics used to scare people

about everything from furnaces to computers to home security, service scams are committed

by crooks trying to get you to believe that a stranger

on the phone… … or a stranger who comes to the door whom

you’ve never met… from an organization you don’t recognize…

should be trusted. You’d think that would never work.

And yet innocent people get burned all the time, compromising their personal information…

and losing their money. How can YOU keep from getting scammed?

Here are two important things: If you're interested in an offer, ask

for ID and KNOW who you're dealing with. And remember: Only your EXISTING service provider

can offer you better rates for their services. Be wary of strangers pressuring you by offering

deals for a limited time. And always ask yourself – If I give my information

to this stranger… am I putting myself at risk?

If the answer is even maybe… say no. Hang up. Close the door.

Watch out for service scams. A message from the Competition Bureau of Canada…

and the Little Black Book of Scams.

Video length: 2 minutes, 03 seconds

How it works

These aggressive pitches are often for investment opportunities, charitable donations, or home services such as maintenance of various appliances, like water heaters, furnaces and air conditioners. Often, they will try to lock you into long-term and costly contracts that are difficult to break.

In many cases, you’ll never receive the product or service promised. In others, the products or services are of poor quality or not as represented.

How to spot it

The scammer will often use high-pressure tactics to force you to make a quick decision.

Protect yourself

  • Don’t feel pressured to make a quick decision. Take time to do some research on the seller and the products first.
  • Ask for photo ID; get the name of the person and the organization or charity they represent.
  • Never share any personal information or copies of any bills or financial statements.
  • Only allow access to your property to people you trust.
  • Research before you invest. Don’t sign anything and always read the fine print.
  • Know your rights. Most provinces and territories have guidelines under their respective consumer protection legislation regarding door-to-door sales.

Further reading