TYLER, Texas (KETK) — Scammers posing as contractors are stealing thousands of dollars from East Texans looking to get their driveways paved.
They often offer cheap and quick service on the condition that homeowners pay in-cash and up front. But once they receive money they never do the work.
The scammer often gets the homeowner’s money by promising they have a load of asphalt right around the corner to put on their driveway and then they disappear.
Legitimate contractors, such as David Lockridge of L&L Asphalt says this scam is a problem they hear too often.
Lockridge says people should never take the word of someone who shows up asking to do the work.
“If it (the driveway) needs to be fixed, call somebody,” Lockridge said.
He recommends those who need a contractor to visit the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) website to see if the contractor has a work service history.
“Always check with a local BBB. Usually the BBB has heard of them, or can do a little research about them to see if there’s any complaints about em,” he added.
Mechele Mills, CEO and president of BBB in Central East Texas, says people should be careful with whom they hire to pave their driveway. She advises people to insist on getting a contract and receive information about the company.
“Something that’s common with these scam artists is that they don’t have any identifiable information,” Mills said. “So one of the things you want to stay away from is if someone approaches you and they don’t have any markings on their vehicle, or a business card, you can’t really verify that they have a business.”
Instead of paying in cash, people can pay with a credit card to increase their chance of getting their money back in the case of fraud.
“If you give someone cash, they can run off; but with card, you can dispute the charges. If writing a check, make sure it’s to a company, not a person,” Mills said.