Joanne Baptiste says three young men recently came to the door of her Ottawa home and said they were doing emergency repairs down the street with Sunrise Roofing and noticed problems on their roof.
“They went to the roof and came back with their cell with pictures of damaged boards and said if I couldn’t make it I would have a water filtration done,” Baptiste said. “They wanted to do the job for $1,500.”
Baptiste was suspicious, so she looked up the company name and called the owner, Bill Onion. His answer confirmed her fears.
“These people are posing as me and my company,” Onion told CTV News Ottawa. “I have no men who work in the winter.”
Onion’s company is based in Franktown, about an hour outside of Ottawa. While Baptiste managed to evade this scam, others in the area weren’t so lucky.
A resident in Old Ottawa South says workers knocked on his door and offered to take a look and fix it on the spot. He paid $2,500 in cash.
This owner, who declined an on-camera interview, said he called Onion after looking up the company’s name online.
“Three calls in one day,” Onion said. “These are the calls I got. How many people got scammed and didn’t call me?”
A closer look at the receipt shows that the address on the roofing contract is from a separate Toronto company. The company says they have problems.
“We are aware of the problem that there are people who are impersonating our company who are not, and we encourage people to contact the police if they come into contact with these people,” he said Brian Salveira, the vice president of Sunrise Roofing Contractors in Toronto.
Baptiste says she has lodged a complaint with the police and is awaiting a response. In the meantime, Onion says, homeowners need to do their homework, get references from their past clients, and be wary of those demanding immediate payment.
“If they ask for cash before the work takes place, you will be scammed,” he said.