Consumer Safety and Scam Prevention (for older adults and all residents)

The following are tips and awareness for residents to prevent fraud, scams and rural crime:

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Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) recommend strategies to protect against property crime 

The RCMP (Alberta Division) wants to urge homeowners to consider Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles when planning to enjoy the outdoors, work on home renovations or even to take that long overdue road trip.  

To improve the safety of your home, consider using CPTED principles that focus on the use of design to eliminate or reduce criminal behaviour while at the same time encouraging people to keep an eye out for one another. It can be effectively be used in most environments, including businesses and residential homes. 

The following are public tips to following CPTED:

  • Lighting: Ensure your yard is well lit. Consider installing motion sensor lights at all entryways.
  • Sightlines: Keep clear sightlines to yards, garages, and entry points so criminals have nowhere to hide. Make sure trees and bushes aren’t overgrown, creating a cover for a potential thief.
  • Gates: A locked gate can help deter a criminal who may not want to waste time trying to get past it.
  • Windows: Keep windows covered and locked when you’re not home. An empty house is a criminal’s playground.
  • Alarms: Consider installing a security system, especially on seasonal properties or if you travel often. This will help ensure that if anything does happen to your property, authorities will be alerted immediately.
  • Vehicles: Keep your vehicles locked and remove any valuables from them. If possible, park any ATVs or other seasonal vehicles out of sight. 

The safety and well-being of our community is achieved when residents work in collaboration with one another, supported by community resources.

Let’s work together to prevent crime before it occurs through a proactive approach.  

For more information on CPTED please check out the link to Your Alberta RCMP, Your Provincial Police, and the CPTED (YouTube) videos below: 


Beware of paving scams this summer

Contractors' claim to have leftover materials from previous jobs and offer to pave driveways and parking lots at reduced pricing. Companies may use business names that suggest they are affiliated with a government road maintenance department and typically provide false addresses or contact information. After contractors collect payment and disappear from the area, customers discover the materials used are poor quality and the work is unprofessional. Victims are left unable to contact the scammers and face expensive asphalt repairs.

Some warning signs

- Watch out for sales pitches like these: 

  • Limited offer: “This is a special price. It’s only available today. Tomorrow the price goes up!” The so-called “special price” may really be the standard, everyday price.
  • Price advantage: “We’ll give you a good deal if we can advertise that you are a satisfied customer.” The supposed deal may not be in your best interest.
  • Misrepresentation: “I’m doing a survey for (names a company or government department) and wonder if you could answer a few questions?” The salesperson may be lying and just wants to gain entry to your home. 

Asphalt Paving Scams 

  • Paving contractors may approach your home telling you they are working in the area and have leftover material.
  • They may claim they are working on projects for the local municipal or county governments.
  • They may pressure you to make a quick decision without providing time to research other businesses.
  • They may use high-pressure tactics and discounted prices to make you think you are getting a deal.
  • There usually is not a written estimate or contract detailing what is to be provided – no specifics on how the driveway will be prepared prior to asphalt application, no dimensions of the area to be paved, and no measurements on the thickness of the asphalt.
  • These companies often do not provide information on the name of their business, or its address.
  • Customers are often told that they will not be able to drive on the finished asphalt for days or weeks.  
  • Victims often find that, when they do drive on the asphalt, it cracks, crumbles and falls apart. The paving company is usually long gone and is not reachable.
  • Other unscrupulous contractors have offered products such as driveway sealants. The cost may be higher than what other reputable businesses offer, and the quality of the sealant product may be questionable.  

What you can do

  • Research online. Check the Business Enforcement Search Tool  ( via to see if the company has had any past enforcement actions placed on it. Check the Better Business Bureau website at, social media, and search the company’s name on the Internet. 
  • Ensure you verify a legitimate physical address for the business.
  • Ask for references and verify if previous customers were satisfied. 
  • Ask to see municipal and provincial business licenses.
  • Obtain written estimates and contracts from other companies that are detailed and fully describe the goods and services to be provided.
  • Establish the total “all-in” cost of the project.  
  • Never pay in cash. 
  • Never make a rushed decision. If the offer sounds too good to be true it probably is.

How you can report it 

To report a possible paving scam or other consumer related issues, including anonymous tips through:

  • Report a Rip Off phone line: contact the Service Alberta and Red Tape Reduction Contact Centre at 1-877-427-4088. 
  • Filing a Consumer Complaint: information is available at

Consumer Investigations Unit Edmonton:
3rd Floor, Commerce Place, 10155-102 Street, Edmonton AB T5J 4L4  
Calgary: Suite 301, 7015 Macleod Trail SW, Calgary AB T2H 2K6 

  • Contact your local RCMP Detachment.

Some of the common fraud and scam activities to be aware of:

TIP: When in doubt, do not provide personal information, hang up the phone/end a chat and contact a trusted individual (family/friend) for additional confirmation or support. 

  1. Romance scams: Initiated on dating or social media sites, scammers build relationships over time before asking for large sums of money. The perpetrator says they can't video chat for technical reasons, but it’s because a video call would reveal that they aren’t who they say they are.
  2. Sweepstakes scams: Scammers claim you won a lottery or other prize, but you must pay taxes or fees to claim the prize. It’s often a contest or lottery the victim never even entered. 
  3. Grandparent scams: Impersonating a relative, often a grandchild, the fraudster phones in a panic saying they’re in trouble and need money to be sent immediately. The phone is then handed to their “attorney” or “representative” before you can clearly recognize the voice. Often the fraudster will say “Don't tell my parents,” and “You're the only one who can help.”
  4. Computer software or virus scams: A pop-up ad or email says your computer has been hacked and demands payment from you. Once you engage, they use extreme pressure tactics to push for more funds or gift cards.
  5. Government agency scams: The scammer impersonates someone from the Canada Revenue Agency or another government agency, demanding payment or a transfer of funds so you can avoid a penalty or jail time.
  6. Gift card scam: If someone posing as a legitimate source or business asks you to pay for something by putting money on a gift card, it’s a scam. They say it’s urgent, may tell you to purchase several different gift cards, and then ask you to share the gift card number and pin. Once you do, your money is gone.
  7. Undercover investigation scam: Criminals pose as legitimate sources like law enforcement or your bank and trick you into providing money to help with a criminal investigation. There are many variations, but the scammer often claims they are investigating an employee at a bank branch and they need the victim to withdraw a large sum of money to be used as evidence. It may happen over multiple days. The victim is told not to tell anyone they’re involved and that the money will be returned. Remember, a business, government agency or your bank will never ask you to participate in an undercover operation to prevent fraud.

Any older adults can also send an email to if you want to confirm any suspicious email or conversations. Lamont County Family and Community Support Services offers sessions on fraud prevention for older adults in the spring and fall each year. Sessions will be posted at: