Two men have been impersonating employees of a family-run ventilation business, Ottawa police say, in the latest scam to hit the city’s streets.
Advanced Air Quality Duct Cleaning became aware of the scam when the business started getting calls two weeks ago from upset customers complaining about a lack of service and aggressive sales tactics.
But the company couldn’t find any legitimate records of its employees attending the residences in question. It also doesn’t make calls to prospective clients.
Police said unknown telemarketers had called the customers and masked their own number by displaying the business’s phone number.
After making appointments, two men showed up to the clients’ homes in unmarked vehicles, pretended to work on ventilation ducts and then collected payment, police said in a media release issued Monday.
‘They’re tarnishing our reputation’
“They’re tarnishing our reputation. … We definitely don’t use any telemarketing. We never have, we never will,” said Ryan Couch, general manager of Advanced Air Quality Duct Cleaning.
The company’s prices for residential air duct cleaning generally vary from $350 to $500, but the alleged scammers were offering their services for about $150.
“The biggest thing for us now is we’re wasting time that we could be focusing on our business … and we’re spending this time trying to chase down these fraudsters,” Couch said.
“Just get out of Ottawa. Go away. Leave.”
Ottawa police Staff Sgt. Stephanie Burns said consumers should be wary of businesses making cold calls.
“Do some research, get some references and go about making those appointments yourself instead of waiting for those things to come to you,” she said.
Anyone with information about the scam is asked to call the Ottawa police organized fraud unit at 613-236-1222, ext. 5433. Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling Crime Stoppers toll-free at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS