Scammers Try to Capitalize on Flooding

Wheat Ridge, CO ~ As the state of Colorado begins to recover from the recent storms and flooding, the Wheat Ridge Police Department encourages Wheat Ridge community members and business owners to be aware of potential scams. The scams most seen after disasters involving severe weather and storms involve home repair, tree trimming and asphalt improvement work. At this time, community members should be on the lookout for illegitimate roofers in particular.

“Gypsy” or “Storm Chaser” scams involve individuals who usually travel in small groups across the country perpetrating crimes of fraud, theft and burglary. These scam artists show up after a major storm causes significant damage in a community, especially after significant rain and/or hail storms. The scammers ask for payment up front usually in cash or sometimes in the form of a check. In nearly all cases, the work is not completed or is poorly done. When the victim tries to stop payment on the check, it has already been cashed and the “contractor” is never heard from again. Most often these scammers target the elderly population.

Whenever you are approached by a person soliciting home or business repair, it is always best to not make a decision right away. Ask to see a business license. Any legitimate business will have a license. Don’t enter into an agreement right away. Take the opportunity to check the Better Business Bureau to see if there is a report on the company.

If you suspect that someone is trying to scam you, you should immediately call the Wheat Ridge Police Department to report the suspicious behavior at (303) 237-2220. Get a good description of the subject(s). Remember, if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. For any questions or more crime prevention tips please contact the department’s Crime Prevention Team at (303) 235-2910.

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