Unfortunately, people like to take advantage of the elderly. Because seniors are seen as more vulnerable and trusting, every year, thousands of seniors become a victim to financial scams. Well, there is a new scam in town to look out for and while they are targeting the elderly, you don’t necessarily have to be a senior to fall for it.
The new scam goes a little something like this. You are home, minding your own business when someone knocks on your door. When you answer, they tell you that they work for the city, and they painted your house number on the curb. They claim that you owe them money their work.
If you refuse, they will get angry or put pressure on you. They will tell you that you will be in trouble with the city if you don’t pay up. Then you either give in and pay or you refuse and they walk away.
This scam is becoming very popular all over the world. People from Los Angeles to Australia have reported that they were harassed by “painters” ordering them to pay up. Maybe you have even been a victim to this scam.
The police want you to know that if you didn’t ask for any work done around your house, you will never be obligated to pay anyone for doing the work. It’s plain and simple. If you didn’t request it, then you don’t have to pay for it. It doesn’t matter how convincing they may be.
If you think that you are being scammed, call the non-emergency number for your local police. If the “painter” starts acting abusive, get a description of them and/or their vehicle and call the police. If they are scamming you, they are probably scamming everyone else in town too.
But before you chase a painter down the street, just know this. Some towns do in fact pay number painters to draw your house number on the curb. They just won’t ask you to pay for it. The trouble starts when they show up unannounced and ask you to pay for it.
Here are some clues to let you know if you are dealing with a scam artist or an actual painter. Some of these fake painters will leave a note for homeowners that look like they are from the city. Make sure they read the note carefully and call the local works department to confirm that they are legit.
Scam artists won’t list an amount, they will leave the number open so they can fish for a larger amount. Or they will give a number that seems way too high. If it seems too high, chances are that it is too high of a number because you shouldn't be paying at all to begin with.
They may tell you that because you didn’t post a notice asking them not to paint, that you are now required to pay. They may say that they are collecting money for a charity. Feel free to ask them for a brochure or pamphlet and ask questions about the charity to see if they can answer them.
When in doubt, you can always call your local public works office. They will be able to tell you if painters were scheduled to work on your street that day. If they have no record of them, make sure you report it so none of your neighbors get scammed.
Many people are happy to shell out money to scammers without doing the proper research. Don’t be a victim! Maybe you want to have the number painted on your curb, so you will gladly pay the money? Some don’t even wind up painting. They just take your money and run.
There are number painters that are legitimate. They will personalize it by putting your family’s name or favorite sports colors. If they seem legit and seem polite, Google them and do your research before you just hand over the dough. Please make sure to share this warning so we can spread the word about this new scam!