With the warmer weather, the New York State Police Department is cautioning homeowners to be wary of “driveway paving scammers.”
New York State Police issued a scam alert this week after receiving reports in the Hudson Valley of fraudsters who have already started making the rounds, looking for their victims.
According to police, the driveway scam typically involves scammers collecting money upfront and never performing the work, or workers showing up unexpectedly and starting work on a driveway without the consent of the homeowner, and then demanding payment.
Recently, troopers receive reports out of Dutchess County of contractors and individuals promising driveway paving and sealing work. In the Verbank area in the town of Washington, investigating troopers made contact with several fraudsters who are known to have engaged in driveway scams in the past.
Earlier this year in Pleasant Valley, residents on Rossway Road reported to police that three men in an old tan-colored pickup truck with traffic cones in the truck bed were going door-to-door claiming to have excess asphalt materials.
Police said that the individuals likely planned to attempt to collect payment upfront, and never planned to return or would perform incomplete or substandard work before leaving.
“Authorities warn that these scams specifically target the elderly in many cases, relying on the confusion of whether the job was ordered or not,” police said. “Typical of these scams are unsavory contractors who go door-to-door using shady tactics to charge exorbitant prices for or small jobs.
“The individuals usually have had several prior police interactions for these sorts of scams. Generally, these individuals have out of state phone numbers and addresses. Both of which could be invalid.”
When seeking a contractor for paving or sealing work, troopers recommend:
- Get written estimates and references when possible;
- Do not pay cash, obtain a signed contract;
- Talk to neighbors and relatives who’ve had similar work done;
- Use local contractors whenever possible and always ask for identification;
- Check out potential contractors on the Better Business Bureau website before agreeing to work.
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