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Residential improvement scams target seniors

Sun Advocate reporter

Every summer, Carbon County seniors encounter home improvement scams. According to former Sheriff James Robertson, subjects immitating repair men visit homes in the local area claiming to be licensed repair men. In the end, the people often turn out to be scam artists who target trusting seniors.

Every summer, Carbon County is plagued by scams which usually are directed toward senior residents.

According to former Carbon County Sheriff James Robertson, summer 2004 should be no different.

In addition to serving as the former head of county law enforcement, Robertson is currently an active member of TRIAD, seniors in cooperation with the sheriff's office and police department.

"It seems like, when the weather warms up, the people come to the area and begin to prey on our seniors," indicated Robertson.

"They will tell residents that they can repair their driveways or roofs and then they rip the citizens off," pointed out the former county sheriff.

In recent years, home improvement and repair scams have surfaced in the local area. The scams usually involve maintenance work such as roof and sidewalk repair.

Once the scam artists establish trust with a senior homeowner, they will find their way into the resident's pocketbook.

"The best advice for seniors is always ask to see credentials. If people offering to do the job are licensed, they should be able to provide the senior with a business license and proper permits," emphasized the former county sheriff.

Residents encountering individuals who solicit payment for home repair services and cannot furnish the proper credentials should immediately contact local law enforcement agencies.

"To my knowledge, we have not had an incident occur so far this year," explained Robertson. "However, it is a matter of time until there is a report filed. It seems like this type of scam is a prevailing thing."

Buyers beware, advised Robertson. If people offer to complete home improvement jobs for a price that seems too good to be true, then usually it is.

TRIAD is a local organization that strives to reduce criminal victimization of older persons. The group encourages Carbon County seniors to be cautious of fast talking salesmen who travel door to door insisting on repairing the roof or driveway at private residences.

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