Skip to main content

'We need protection': Victim of intricate Ont. fraud scams speaks out


One of many victims of an intricate Ontario fraud scheme is sharing his story in hopes of seeing change in the province.

Kitchener resident Ian Craig has seven Notice of Security Interests (NOSIs) on his property totalling more than $150,000.

A NOSI can be placed on a home without the homeowner’s knowledge, binding them to a contract they must pay before they can sell or refinance their home.

All the NOSIs on Craig’s home were put there by alleged scammers without his knowledge.

“It didn’t scare me, it just made me totally, totally angry that they could do this and get away with it,” Craig said.


Det. Adam Stover with the Waterloo Regional Police Service’s Organized Financial Crime Team said many of the scams they’re currently investigating stem from 2012 to 2018. During that time, door-to-door HVAC companies were locking seniors into contracts for items like air conditioners, furnaces or filters.

“It was a 10-year long contract, a 120-month lease, with high interest rates on it,” Stover explained. “That contract would then be taken and sold to a B Lender, so a different bank – not one of your main banks, but a B Lender.”

Typically, the B Lender would buy the contract at a discounted rate. The door-to-door scammer would make money from that sale.

“Then that B Lender would take that contract, and to ensure they were going to get paid, they would register a Notice of Security Interest on title.”

The NOSI would be placed on the home without the property owner’s knowledge.

Kitchener's Ian Craig is out thousands of dollars, and on the hook for much more, after falling victim to home improvement-related scams. He spoke to CTV Kitchener's Stefanie Davis on July 31, 2023. (Dan Lauckner/CTV Kitchener)

In 2018, door-to-door sales became illegal in Ontario, but Stover said some scammers kept a list of the people they had sold to between 2012 and 2018.

In some cases, like Craig’s, they looped back to target the same people again. From 2021 to 2022, seven NOSIs were placed on Craig’s home under four different company names. They range from about $13,000 to $40,000.

Two people who were charged by Waterloo regional police in July allegedly targeted Craig, posing as consultants who could help him clear the NOSIs from his property. He paid them tens of thousands of dollars for what he thought were consulting and legal fees.

Det. Stover said they allegedly offered Craig a home appraisal for a mortgage to pay for the NOSIs, but police intercepted in time.

Speaking generically about the scams, Stover said it’s essentially a race for investigators to stop them before they go too far.

“If we don’t get to them, that money is going to get converted by a mortgage and then [homeowners] are going to lose that. If we can get to them before that NOSI is converted, we can get a civil lawyer. It might cost them a little bit of money, but it costs $10,000 to save $80,000 worth of Notice of Securities,” he explained.

“We’ve ran into victims at all different stages.”


Craig said he was going through an emotional time when some of the scams happened and wasn’t paying close attention.

“This is not right, for people who have invested in their homes, that somebody comes along and puts [NOSIs] on it for half of it,” he said. “The way they can take advantage of people is just disgusting. This is why we need protection.”

He’s now working with lawyer Dennis Crawford in hopes of getting the NOSIs dropped from his home.

Det. Stover said some victims he’s worked with have lost their homes over these scams, adding there are likely more victims who don’t know there are NOSIs on their homes.

“There’s going to be victims out there that are facing foreclosure and have no idea, we have no idea, about them. They’re not getting the help they need and they’ll just sell their house,” he said.


Det. Stover said if people are concerned that they have been targeted, they can conduct a parcel search on their property to check if there is a NOSI on it.

“If you’re concerned about it, contact a family member who may be knowledgeable in it, or even a lawyer, to run a parcel search,” Stover said.

“They can even go down to the [Land Registry Office] and have that search done.”

He said the documents can be complex to review, but they show everything listed for the house.

“That’s the best way to find out what’s going on with your property,” Stover explained.

“If you are in that situation, then contact your local police service, Waterloo regional police or contact the OPP.”

He added there are problems in every region of Ontario.

This part one of a two-part series. The second part, focusing on legislation loopholes some fraudsters are taking advantage of, will be published Wednesday. Top Stories

Stay Connected