On the evening of Monday, January 27, an elderly female owner of a home on Gorge Road answered a knock on her door to find a male offering his services as a window and gutter cleaner and roof de-mosser. The male stated that he and his wife had just started their business and offered to provide his services for a cash-only fee of $35, to be paid up front.
The homeowner repeatedly declined the male’s offers, but he was persistent. He used high-pressure tactics, claiming that his wife had recently been diagnosed with cancer and that his family was in financial hardship. He eventually asked to use the homeowner’s ladder to “assess her roof” and when she refused, he walked away, stating that he would “come back after dark with his own ladder”. Though he claimed to live in the neighbourood, he refused to provide his address. He had no business licence, flyers or cards.
Late the following evening, the homeowner’s son was walking by her residence when he saw the male at her front door. He challenged the male, who claimed that he had been about to give the homeowner a bill “for spraying her roof” – this had obviously not occurred. He refused to show the bill or provide his name, and walked away quickly.
This incident is beyond doubt a scam, likely specifically targeting seniors. In this version, the offered services are not actually provided. Other iterations see work completed only partially, often for an exorbitant fee. The fraudster uses tactics ranging from a “sob story” to outright threats in order to obtain payment. Of particular concern in this incident is the male’s willingess to return after dark – in itself an intimidating tactic.
Legitimate businesses of this type rarely solicit door-to-door. If they do, they can provide credentials. They do not require cash-only, in-advance payments.
The suspect is a Caucasian male, 5ft8in tall, aged 35-45 years, with a thin, hollow-cheeked face and short dark brown hair. Anyone who has been similarly targeted by this suspect is encouraged to report the incident to the Saanich Police.
File 2014-1772 / 2014-1850
Cst. Jonathan Myers #243