If something seems too good to be true, it almost always is, Lower Saucon Township Police are reminding residents.
In a recent post on their Crimewatch site, police described an all-too-common scenario in which residents are turned into victims by the allure of a bargain combined with their own naivete.
This scenario begins with a knock at the door by a man who says he has asphalt left over from an earlier job and will pave your driveway at a discounted price, according to authorities.
“His high pressure approach confuses and intimidates,” police said. That approach, however, should be a red flag that “you are not getting a deal–you are being scammed.”
If you decide to accept the “deal” that’s being offered, police said men and machines will suddenly appear–seemingly out of nowhere–and “work” will begin on your driveway.
“At some point, the con man claims a mistake was made and you owe thousands more than the original price,” police said. “He threatens that if you refuse to pay, the ‘work’ will cease.”
To fund the work, victims of this paving scam are sometimes escorted to a bank to withdraw cash. If they pay by check, typically they’ll learn later that it was cashed within minutes of being written and that it’s too late to be canceled.
Police said paving scams such as the one described occur more often near the end of summer, and that the perpetrators will often target older people.
In fact, police in Chester County say a 75-year-old man in East Brandywine Township was a victim of three New England scam artists last month, two of whom were arrested out west and one of whom is still at large.
Thes scammers “are well known to police across the country,” they said.
To avoid being a paving scam victim, police recommend doing the following:
- Beware of unsolicited offers to do paving work.
- Get a signed work contract before work begins.
- Do not let anyone soliciting work at your door inside your home. Calmly but firmly tell them you are not interested and to leave your property. If they refuse, call the police.
- Educate yourself and your family. Search the Internet for “paving scams” to learn more and Google the name of the company you plan to hire.
- Get referrals for paving companies from trusted friends and relatives.
- Call the police if anyone begins “working” on your property without your consent.
- Be a good neighbor. Paving scams target senior citizens, so keep an eye out for unfamiliar work vehicles at the homes of elderly neighbors and ask them about what’s happening.
- Always call police if you have questions, or if unfamiliar people or companies appear at your door or in your neighborhood.
“Your vigilance will help police in their effort to keep everyone safe and secure,” police said. “When faced with one of these scammers remember, there is no such thing as extra asphalt.”