Recently, Hastings police took a report from an elderly resident who came home to find a group of people seal-coating his driveway. He had not contracted with anyone to do this work.

They demanded to be paid $6,000 for a small driveway which he paid in cash. Bloomington had two recent scams, one similar to the above. In the second incident, the suspects distracted the homeowner while another went into the home to steal cash and jewelry.

Limited suspect information: five males and one female with white pickup trucks.

Whether it’s a major remodel, repairs to windows, roofs, gutters, foundation, chimneys, driveways, or simple painting or tree trimming, Richfield Police are telling homeowners need to be wary if:

• Someone offers to do work on their home at a discount

• A person offers to do the project with “supplies left over from another job”

• The offer is only good for that day; ignore high pressure sales tactics

• The contractor uses a vehicle with out-of-state license plates

• A seller won’t give references or a warranty – ask for references or get a recommendation from a trusted neighbor, friend or family member

• Get an agreement in writing

• Never pay the full amount for the job until the job is completed

• Never agree to work that will be done immediately – allow time to research the company and review the contract

• Cash payment is demanded – never pay cash nor go inside to retrieve cash (that tells them there is cash in the home)

• Be extra cautious about anyone you let inside your home (it is recommended to not let people in your home)

Before hiring a contractor:

• Research – contact several local contractors for an evaluation and written estimate that includes taxes and all fees

• Compare bids

• Take the time to check references – contractors should be willing to provide names of previous customers who had similar work done

• In addition to calling references, call the Better Business Bureau, Homebuilders’ Association or Trade Council to independently confirm the legitimacy of a contractor.

- Courtesy of the Richfield Police Department

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