TSSA’s Fraud Prevention Month Warning: Verify the Legitimacy of All Fuels Professionals
Toronto, ON, March 1, 2022 – As part of its commitment to protecting Ontarians from the dangers posed by fraudulent fuels workers, the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) is launching its third annual 'Trunk Slammers' Awareness and Enforcement Program. In alignment with the 2022 Fraud Prevention Month national campaign theme, Impersonation Scams, this year’s 'Trunk Slammers' Awareness and Enforcement Program campaign aims to ensure Ontario homeowners understand the importance and methods of verifying the credentials of fuels service professionals and reporting illegal workers and scammers to TSSA.
Trunk Slammers & Unsafe Technical Work
Uncertified gas technicians and unregistered contractors, aka ‘trunk slammers’, are known for performing less expensive labour with cheaper, unsafe materials and operating out of the trunks of their vehicles, which makes them difficult for consumers to locate and hold accountable.
“Fuels-related risks in retirement and long-term care homes, private dwellings, and business units are among the top areas of risk that we see,” said Sam Sadeghi, Statutory Director, TSSA Fuels Safety Program, and as noted in TSSA’s 2021 Public Safety Report. “Inadequate installation of fuel-burning appliances and poor maintenance work have been identified as major contributing factors to the risks in these areas, so it’s vital that Ontarians only hire those authorized by TSSA to perform fuel-related work.”
TSSA Impersonators & Unscrupulous Salespeople
In light of recent incidents involving scammers impersonating TSSA representatives, TSSA also urges Ontarians to be on alert for door-to-door and telemarketing salespeople selling furnaces, water heaters and energy services. In several cases, individuals who look and sound legitimate are not.
During the occurrence most recently reported to TSSA, a resident received an automated robo call identifying the company as TSSA saying the company wanted to arrange a furnace inspection. Upon further inquiry, the company altered its offer to say the company would come and see if the resident qualified for an energy rebate. A few weeks prior, a man went door to door posing as a TSSA Fuels Safety inspector and attempted to sell furnaces to owners of newly purchased homes.
“TSSA representatives do not work on appliances and will not attempt to sell products or inspection services to Ontario residents,” said Sadeghi. “Furthermore, if someone calls or arrives at a resident’s home and says the resident requires a furnace inspection, it is just a sales call, and residents are not obligated to comply.”
There are limited circumstances in which TSSA would visit a resident’s home. In any of these situations, TSSA representatives will present a business card and have a badge to identify themselves. If ever in doubt, residents should confirm an individual’s identity by calling TSSA.
Know Who’s Who Before Engaging
“We do recommend that homeowners have their furnaces and fuel-burning devices checked and serviced annually by a TSSA-registered contractor to protect against CO and fire hazards, but homeowners should seek out and verify their own contractors and not let anyone in that comes to their doors unless an appointment has been arranged in advance,” said Sadeghi.
Under Ontario law, furnaces and fuel-fired appliances must be maintained by TSSA-registered contractors, all of whom are listed on the TSSA website. Registered contractors are required to hire certified gas technicians who have extensive training aimed at keeping people safe in their homes.
Ontarians who believe they have been targeted by a TSSA impersonator should report the incident to 1-877-682-TSSA immediately. TSSA also urges the public to report unregistered fuels contractors and uncertified technicians, who put Ontario residents at risk through shoddy technical workmanship on fuel-burning appliances.
“We only become aware of these situations when people report them to us or the police,” said Sadeghi. “We want residents to know there are no negative consequences of reporting these incidents, and we encourage people to do so.”
Guidance & Resources
For additional information and access to safety resources, visit the following webpages:
Throughout Ontario, the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) enforces provincial safety regulations and enhances public safety. TSSA regulates the safety of amusement devices, boilers and pressure vessels, elevating devices, fuels, operating engineers, and ski lifts. Its range of safety services include public education, certification, licensing and registration, engineering design review, inspections, investigations, safety management consultation, compliance support, enforcement, and prosecution activities.
For more information, please contact:
Vice President, Communications and Stakeholder Relations
Technical Standards and Safety Authority
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