From BPD News:
Spring brings the increased solicitation by international travelers offering residents home improvement work. In past years, Boston residents have paid tens of thousands of dollars for masonry, driveway, paving, chimney, basement, roofing and fence repair; only to be left with worse damage or little to no improvement. What starts with $1500 paving or masonry repair escalates to reported foundation damage costing tens of thousands of dollars. Residents are asked to take precautions from becoming a victim. Tactics used by these scammers include:
Door-to-Door Solicitation or Slick flyers with uninspired business names
Will offer discounts because of “left over materials” from neighborhood jobs
High Pressure – will exaggerate need for work to be done immediately
After initial work may show threatening or intimidating demeanor
They will ask checks be made out to them individually and not the company name
Residents should know many of these individuals are traveling to the US under a program that DOES NOT allow them to work during their 90-day visit. Most of the scammers identified are traveling from Ireland and the United Kingdom. Residents are also reminded much of the work being done by these scammers require City of Boston Building Permits (What building permit do I need? | Boston.gov). In addition, the companies are not registered with the City or State and may have a recently established website. They DO NOT carry insurance and WILL NOT guarantee job satisfaction.
Residents who feel they have been victimized should contact their local police district and provide as much information as possible to include names of individuals and companies, phone numbers, vehicles and plates.
Remember, for any work on your property you should obtain a minimum of two estimates from reputable companies who will carry the appropriate insurance, licenses, apply for the appropriate permits and provide references and coverage to you for their work after completion.
Maureen Dahill is the editor of Caught in Southie and a lifelong resident of South Boston sometimes mistaken for a yuppie. Co-host of Caught Up, storyteller, lover of red wine and binge watching TV series. Mrs. Peter G. Follow her @MaureenCaught.
If he says he can fix it in a heartbeat,
Or says yo at any point in conversation,
Or has sneakers on,
Or underarmour running pants on,
Or, tells you about 50 jobs him and his crew did….shows pictures on his iphone to back him up.
Or has an especially large pickup truck with $5000 rims
Or, had business cards with previous numbers blacked out by sharpie marker,
Or, is trying to hide his GPS parole tracker under his pantleg.
Or his eyes dart around your living room while you ask a few simple questions about his work.
The first thing to do if you do decide to give it a chance is have him do something small and inexpensive, like hang a picture frame….
Or transfer a full gallon of paint into another gallon container, watch carefully as it’s done…..a good painter or craftsman can do it in 30 seconds, it took me 20 years to get it right.
If you’re not sure from the git, then try someone else.
Always but always ask for his license, take a picture of it, but only after you’ve allowed him to sit at the kitchen table, not at the front door.
Ask him the difference between 1/8 of an inch and 3/32
He won’t know right off because nobody ever really knows or cares, if he does know…. don’t hire him because it’ll cost you way to much doing things HIS way.
Good luck !
Whoooof!! Scary as anything! There are scams going on all over the place, especially nowadays, but the fact that this particular scam seems to be targeted particularly toward Senior Citizens makes this particular scam even scarier. Hey, everybody–if something seems off, or particularly ominous—don’t rise to the bait! Turn it down–immediately! I feel sorry for people who do get scammed like that. It’s a horrible thing to happen to anybody. Frankly, I would not wish it on my worst enemy!
There’s a few of these folks/scammers that post for work in the Southie community group. They target people who need quick work and asking for help. Beware