Warning about elderly scam


Police have received complaints about unlicensed contractors who appear to be soliciting elderly citizens to hire them for various residential projects such as power washing and painting homes, paving driveways, performing auto body and mechanical repairs, and asking for full payment up front, often claiming that material and supplies need to be purchased in advance.

On Wednesday, an 87-year-old told police he was approached by a couple who offered to power wash his roof. After agreeing on a price, the female suspect said she needed to go into the victim’s house to shut the windows to prevent water from entering. The victim was momentarily distracted by the male suspect while the woman remained in the house. After the couple left without completing the job, the victim discovered several valuables were missing from his house.

Lt. Greg Esteban of the Criminal Investigations Section said Thursday afternoon that no arrests have been made and no suspects had yet been identified.

Police caution the public against agreeing to having residential improvements done without first conducting their own research.

Consumers should ask for documents of identification from the individuals performing any work and only sign a written contract that specifies conditions of the project, including a deadline. Often these types of scams end up with the unlicensed contractor performing shoddy work, unfinished work or no work done at all — and the victim out a hefty sum of money.

Police ask that anyone who may have been victimized in a similar scam call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or go to the nearest police station to file a complaint.

Consumers may also call the division of the Regulated Industries Complaints Office (RICO) of the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs at 808-587-3222. The RICO web address is http://hawaii.gov/dcca/rico/.

 

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