Sheriff Jimmy Harris asks that everyone exercise caution this summer as we approach the season when traveling con artists start moving across the Southeast. These “gypsies” come mostly from the East coast and are well-organized in taking advantage of people.
One of the most common scams used is the “driveway repair.” The suspect will approach a “client” and give a story about having left-over asphalt from a large job. The offer is made to give a huge discount to pave a driveway. Once the “contract” is signed the $300.00 quote swells to several thousand dollars after the cheap mix is put down. Threats of liens are made to get the victim to pay and a settlement is usually reached still far exceeding the original agreement.
Any home repair you do not call someone to do should be suspect. Reputable contractors do not go door-to-door soliciting businesses. If someone comes to your property wanting to do repair work always ask for written quotes which detail labor and materials and the work to be completed. Get references which can be verified and never pay up front for materials.
Door-to-door sales are legal in most cases but should not take place after dark. Do not let strangers enter your home if you are alone. Always ask for identification and licenses for the items being sold. Do not let people leave your sight while in your home. Take note of vehicle descriptions and tag numbers. Be suspicious and don’t let your guard down.
Phone and Internet scams are a daily problem. Use common sense as you go through these calls or e-mails. Never verify account information over the phone or internet. Never wire money to collect money. Never cash a check to send money back. Lottery winnings don’t require wiring any money to collect. Neither does collecting on an inheritance. Remember, If it sounds too good to be true, it is.