Fake contractors targeting elderly homeowners in scam

Fake contractors targeting elderly homeowners in scam

Police said Tuesday that there's been an increase recently in cases involving scammers posing as home contractors and convincing people to pay for repairs that never happened or weren't necessary.

Vince Rosenthal was expecting many years of trouble-free, leak proof protection out of his 2-year-old roof.

"I was in the back and somebody called 'Hello, hello, hey I'm here from the roofing company and I'm here to inspect the roof for the warranty,'" he said.

On Tuesday he pointed out several obvious areas of damage to his roof, explaining that he had watched two men cause the damage and then ask to be paid to fix it.

"I said 'You're crazy. You're not quite normal,'" Rosenthal said.

There were two "roofers" who claimed they'd been sent by AVCO Roofing. As it happens, AVCO had installed Rosenthal's roof and he just didn't think he could trust the men who'd gone up there. He called AVCO asking who they'd sent.

"[They said] no," he said. "We don't have anybody."

Accordingly, Rosenthal never gave the scammers a dime and they ran off.

The real AVCO was visiting Rosenthal Tuesday and surveying the damage. Commercial-Residential Manager Heath Hicks said, more than anything, things like this hurt the customers.

"It's also hurtful to roofing companies in general in Tyler because the more people get burned the less trusting they are of contractors when they come to the door," Hicks said.

"They'll basically do what they're doing until all of a sudden the heat's on," Tyler Police Officer Don Martin said.

Martin said traveling scammers hit the Tyler area every year and the best protection is knowing what to look for.

"Make sure that they have marked uniform shirts, name tags, literature that's branded to that company that they have for you, that they have a marked vehicle," Hicks said.

"Call the company that they work for. But again, that's not a guarantee," Martin said. "They may give you a false number and have someone who's on the other end to scam you as well."

"Any trustworthy contractor in Tyler, roofing or not, is going to let you know before they come," Hicks said.


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