MELROSE — Chief Michael L. Lyle and the Melrose Police Department wish to warn residents of ongoing home improvement scams, including costly driveway paving scams, that occur around the region during this time of year.
Residents have reported to police that they have been approached at their homes by men offering various home improvement services, such as driveway repairs.
“These types of scams target our residents and make legitimate contractors look bad,” said Chief Lyle. “Legitimate contractors will not have ‘extra asphalt’ lying around and won’t force you to make a decision on the spot to have your driveway paved.”
The scenario is similar each time: A man knocks on your door saying he has some extra asphalt from a job and is willing to pave your driveway at a deep discount. It is usually a high-pressure “let’s get it done now” approach that can confuse and intimidate, especially senior residents or new homeowners.
If you agree, suddenly men and equipment appear at your house and start “working.” But something “goes wrong” and the ringleader claims that you owe thousands of dollars more than the original price quote. He threatens to leave your driveway in shambles and “cease work” if you don’t pay. He may even escort you to the bank to withdraw money.
This is a sophisticated but unfortunately common con, and the Melrose Police Department urges any homeowner to immediately call 911 if they are approached in this fashion.
“Unfortunately it’s all too common for residents to fall victim to this type of scam,” said Chief Lyle. “Typically, after a homeowner refuses to pay the additional costs to fix their driveway, the suspects leave the property in shambles and do not return. This often results in homeowners needing assistance from licensed paving professionals which then poses additional costs. We would like to reiterate that no one should take any offers for home improvements from door-to-door solicitors without seeing the proper licenses and permits prior to accepting services.”
Melrose Police urge the following:
- Beware of people coming to your home unsolicited, offering to do paving work.
- Do not let solicitors inside your home.
- Be calm, but firm, and tell them that you are not interested. Ask them to leave your property. If they do not comply, call the police.
- If you do hire a contractor or worker for your driveway, ask to see their proof of solicitors’ insurance.
- Be alert for these kinds of people in your neighborhood. They typically target seniors.
- Call the police if people begin “working” on your property without your permission.
Anyone with questions, concerns, or who suspects they may have been a victim can call the Melrose Police Department at 781-665-1212.