Unlike phone scams or Internet scams, this scheme can be dangerously effective because the fraudster brings legitimate-looking 'props'. The scammer may have tools, a work truck loaded with construction materials or even a small crew.
Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) June 17, 2013
As summer heats up, experts are anticipating a rise in door-to-door scams. Scambook, the Internet's leading complaint resolution platform, is warning consumers to be on guard for con artists in their community.
One common summertime scam involves fake, unlicensed contractors offering to re-pave the victim's asphalt driveway at a reduced fee using leftover materials. This "reduced fee" proves to be unreasonably high and any actual work completed is of very poor quality.
Law enforcement authorities have issued recent alerts for this particular scam in Iowa, Massachusetts, Oregon and Washington State.
"Unlike phone scams or Internet scams, this scheme can be dangerously effective because the fraudster brings legitimate-looking 'props'," said Kase Chong, Scambook's Director of Marketing. "The scammer may have tools, a work truck loaded with construction materials or even a small crew."
According to law enforcement and Scambook user complaints, a pavement scam can take a variety of forms.
In one version, the scammer begins work on the victim's driveway without the victim's consent. They explain that it was a mistake due to a wrong address and offer to finish the job at a discounted rate. The scammer may complete the job with shoddy workmanship or simply take the victim's money and leave.
To avoid falling for a fraudulent contractor scheme or other door-to-door scams, Scambook advises the following:
1. Never agree to an unsolicited, same-day construction job. If homeowners need work done on their property, it is always advisable to take multiple bids and research a contractor's reputation online before any work is started. If the contractor attempts to pressure homeowners with an "act now or miss out" tactic, they should not be trusted.
2. Never do business with an out-of-state or unlicensed contractor. Always ask to see a contractor's licensing credentials and proof of worker's compensation insurance. Verify this information with municipal records or consult state, county and city officials. If the contractor refuses to show this information or insists on working without a formal written contract, they are more likely to be a scammer.
3. Consumers should never allow solicitors into their homes or backyards. If solicitors do not leave the property when instructed, homeowners are advised to call law enforcement immediately. Homeowners are also advised to alert their neighbors that suspicious people are in the community.
4. If individuals begin working on the homeowner's property without prior consent, call law enforcement. If the individuals appear hostile or make threats, do not engage.
5. Remember that scammers are more likely to target senior citizens. If individuals observe solicitors near an elderly neighbor's home, or if a neighbor's paving crew appears to be working from a truck with out-of-state license plates, inform the neighbor about this type of scam. Offer to help by speaking to the contractors to gather more information or by calling local law enforcement.
Scambook also advises homeowners to trust their instincts. If door-to-door solicitors or other neighborhood activity appears suspicious, do not hesitate to contact law enforcement or other city officials.
For more information, visit http://www.scambook.com/blog.
Scambook is an online complaint resolution platform dedicated to obtaining justice for victims of fraud with unprecedented speed and accuracy. By building communities and providing resources on the latest scams, Scambook arms consumers with the up-to-date information they need to stay on top of emerging schemes. Since its inception, Scambook has resolved over $10 million in reported consumer damages. For more information, visit scambook.com.