The Cheyenne Police Department is warning the public of a scam involving asphalt paving. In what appears to be a nationwide trend, a male suspect will knock on a homeowner’s door saying he has extra asphalt from another job that needs to be used. He then offers to pave their driveway at a discounted price. His high-pressure approach can be confusing and intimidating to victims, who are typically senior citizens. Homeowners who agree or even those who do not firmly refuse the offer can be affected by this scam, as a crew quickly appears at the home and begins working on the driveway. The scammer then claims there is a mistake or issue and that the price will now be thousands of dollars more than discussed. Refusal to pay the additional amount results in the scammer threatening to leave the driveway incomplete. Trying to contact the company may be impossible, as the scammer provides a false name or another company name that was not involved.
Prevention: The CPD offers the following tips to avoid scams –
- Be wary of unsolicited offers: Most scams begin when random workers go out of their way to offer an estimate that was never requested.
- Research companies and workers before you hire: Check reliable sources. If the worker has multiple negative reviews and complaints, do not hire them.
- Get everything in writing: Ask for an estimate in writing before payment is discussed. Do not let a company begin a project until a detailed and signed contract is in place.
- Stagger payments: Most companies will require a percentage of the total price upfront, but it should never be paid in full before the work has begun. Instead, agree to stagger payments so that work can be inspected at various stages of the project.
- Use safe payment methods: Paying with a credit card may minimize risk. If you use a check, write it to a company, not an individual. Paying cash or using an electronic wallet app is risky since there is no way to stop the payment if something goes wrong.
If you are victimized or see something suspicious, contact the dispatch center at (307) 637-6525.