From Wellesley Police Department:
A man knocks on your door and says he has extra asphalt, extra roofing materials, paint or other home repair materials and is willing to pave your driveway, patch a roof, paint or perform other household repairs at a discounted price. His high pressure approach confuses and intimidates. You are not getting a deal, you are being scammed.
If you agree to let them perform the work, here is what likely happens. Men and equipment suddenly appear and begin “working” on your driveway, roof or other area in or around your home. At some point, the conman claims a mistake was made and you owe thousands more than the original price. He threatens that if you refuse to pay, the “work” will cease. You may be escorted to the bank, to withdraw money. When you realize the scam you try to cancel the check only to learn it was cashed within minutes of it being written.
Paving, roofing and other similar scams like this occur regularly in Massachusetts and increase during the spring and summer months. The perpetrators target senior citizens and are well known to police across the country. Criminal charges vary by state but are commonly filed.
Similarly these same individuals may pose as utility workers and attempt to gain entry into the home by a ruse (Ex. A water pipe is broken down the street and they need access to the basement), and while the homeowner is distracted a second person will enter the house and steal money, checkbooks, jewelry, gold, silver or other valuables.
These groups also use women and children to perpetrate their crimes. They may approach your home and ask for directions, ask to use your phone or if a child can use the bathroom and while you are distracted at the front door with one woman the other women or children will enter your home and steal valuable items from the house.
They are also known for driving around neighborhoods and entering houses when they see the homeowners outside doing yard work. Always keep the doors to your house secure, even if you are in your own front or back yard.
Avoid victimization and consider the following suggestions:
Beware of unsolicited offers to do paving, roofing or other repair work. Do not let the solicitors inside your home. Calmly but firmly tell the solicitors you are not interested and tell them to leave your property. If they refuse your instructions call the police.
Educate yourself and your family. Search the internet for “paving scams” and “distraction scams”
Ask to see proof of the solicitors’ insurance. Conmen rarely have worker’s compensation insurance and if one of them is injured at your home, the claim could be made against your homeowner’s insurance.
Call the police if they begin “working” without your consent for service.
Do not let people into your home to use the bathroom or phone.
Do not let an unannounced utility worker into your home. Utility companies such as National Grid will generally notify the public if there is work being done in their area prior to beginning work. If you are unsure if a utility worker is there for a legitimate purpose call the Wellesley Police Department and we can help verify if there is a utility problem in your area.
Be a good neighbor. These types of scams target senior citizens.
Call the police if you have questions, or if unfamiliar people or companies appear at your door or in your neighborhood.
This article is intended as a public service announcement. It is a warning that joins numerous similar warnings that have appeared in newspapers, on television and been sent out by the AARP. Your vigilance will help the Wellesley Police Department in their effort to keep Wellesley safe and secure. When faced with one of these scammers remember, there is no such thing as extra asphalt.