Moultrie Observer

Local News

December 30, 2009

Repair scam warning

Elderly woman targeted for shoddy work

MOULTRIE — A Colquitt County woman nearly learned the hard way the lesson of not handing over large sums of money to friendly strangers offering to do home repairs.

The woman, who lives on Hopewell Church Road, wrote an $800 check Tuesday to a man for paving her driveway, a job that was basically a rip-off, Colquitt County Sheriff’s Office investigator Hal Suber said.

Fortunately the check was written late Tuesday afternoon and the 84-year-old victim was able to stop payment Wednesday before it was cashed.

“The fellow said he was from Pennsylvania,” Suber said. “He said (a price of) $2,000. She said she didn’t have $2,000 so she wrote him a check for $800.”

The so-called driveway repairs turned out to be “ground up asphalt with dirt in it.”

From a distance the paving looked like a good job but up close it was obvious it was poor quality work, Suber said.

Suber said he talked with the man who did the work on the man’s cell telephone and he has agreed not to return to Colquitt County.

No other complaints have been made to the sheriff’s office lately about potential home repair scams, but Suber said several counties in the area have had problems. He does not know if it was the same Pennsylvania man who was in Colquitt County on Tuesday who was the subject of those complaints in the other counties.

Legitimate contractors should have a county permit to perform work, he said. People who show up and ask for money for materials or partial payment before performing the work should definitely send a red flag of a potential scam.

“If you’re going to do something like that, deal with local contractors, somebody that’s legitimate,” Suber said. “These people (scammers) are just preying on the elderly, we just need to put a stop to it.”

Any resident who is approached by someone offering to perform repair work can call the sheriff’s office for help, Suber said.

“If they call us we’ll be glad to come check them out,” he said.

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