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Toronto seniors lose $16K, left with large hole in roof in door-to-door scam

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Police are warning Toronto homeowners after a number of residents have fallen victim to a door-to-door roofing scam, including one couple who lost $16,000 in a scam that left them with a large hole in their roof.

Doug MacLean said contractors came to his parent's door in Toronto in early April, offering to inspect their roof.

“I just had a bad feeling about these guys,” MacLean said. “They had a truck with no markings on it. There was a contract, but it didn't have a website and the phone number was only for a cellphone.”

While conducting the inspection, MacLean said the men damaged his parent’s roof, removing shingles, fascia, and eavestrough, and even creating a large hole.

He said the contractor claimed he could fix the damage to the roof, but that the price kept rising steadily.

Eventually, MacLean said the contractor told them the entire roof would have to be replaced.

“Three thousand dollars turned into $15,000 and that turned into $62,000,” he said.

The family agreed to give the contractor a $1,000 deposit and a $15,000 bank draft but MacLean alleges that once they got that money, they never came back.

“We had pouring rain on Wednesday and Thursday and they left all the damage and rain was pouring into my parent’s house,” MacLean said. “They haven't been back since."

Earlier this month, Toronto police made an arrest in a similar case to MacLean’s.

In this incident, investigators said a man inspected the roof of a different Toronto home, caused damage to it and then offered to repair it.

Toronto resident Jamie O’Brien, 21, was arrested and charged with one count of mischief and one count of damage to property under $5,000 on April 14.

Toronto Police are concerned there may be more victims and they urged others to come forward.

“The Toronto Police Service is acknowledging that there has been an increase in roofing scams," Media Relations Officer Cindy Chung told CTV News Toronto, adding that “the public is reminded, in any commercial transaction, it's important to verify the identity of the person and the business."

To avoid roofing scams, police also said to beware of door-to-door offers and to avoid making payments in advance. Before allowing individuals on your property, police encourage you to verify their identities. You also shouldn’t be afraid to ask anyone to leave, police said.

MacLean's case is still under investigation and he said he’s hopeful his parents could get at least a portion of their $16,000 back.

“I would say just don’t give any money to [people] if they just show up at your door,” MacLean said.

Police say renovation scams are not exclusive to roofers – residents should be careful of anyone going door-to-door offering renovations.

If you've been a victim of fraud, you should contact police or crime stoppers.

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