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  • Water Filter Scam Still Making A Splash in Ontario


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One of the oldest and more tiring of cons that may happen at your door is water filtration scam. This one has been documented with cases leading as far back as the mid 1980′s. And yet, its terrifying in its deceit, simplicity, and effectiveness. What are water filtration scams, and how can you avoid being burned by them?

While the primary reason door-to-door salespeople knock is to offer a deal, water filtration scammers prey on a sentiment that’s much more insidious. The ethos behind this one is meant to prey our fear of health scares and pollution in our homes. The scam uses a combination of fear-mongering, self-doubt, and snake oil to be effective.

How Does The Water Scam Work?

The scammer, posing as a door-to-door salesperson, knocks on your door one day, claiming to represent a municipal or provincial water authority. They offer to do an “in-home water test” to check if the quality of your water meets regulated standards. The scammer proceeds to ask for a water sample, after which they use a clear-drop solution or tablet which “reacts” with the chemicals in the water to produce a cloudy or musky looking liquid.

The scam works because of our innate revulsion to seeing something we drink daily be turned into what looks like sewer water. You could say it works almost on an instinctual level, as we’re trained to avoid water which looks unclean. Individuals roped in by this gut feeling are more likely to be roped into the scam.

In reality, the clear-drop solution or tablet are nothing more than water-soluble garbage designed to alter the clarity and color of the water when dropped into it. Some scammers might tell the victim that the water has traces of calcium or magnesium (which is present in natural, clean water) or that chlorine in the water supply will cause cancer or other health problems.

Naturally, the goal of the scam is sell the victim unwanted and unneeded (not to mention incredibly expensive) filtration systems, with prices ranging from two to three thousand dollars regularly. What these filtration systems actually do depends greatly on the company; but keep in mind that Ontario – and Canada in general – has some of the cleanest drinking water in the world and puts the logic of water filters into question.

Why Do Water Scams Still Get Us?

Despite decades of history behind this popular scam, it really does strike at a lot of our biggest fears about our home being unsafe or unclean. Many people use personal water filters or drink bottled water out of both convenience and habit, and the idea that we do so because tap water is unhealthy has become a very easy platform for this scam to work on unwitting victims.

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