Paving problem: Summer bringing out scam artists

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WAYNE COUNTY, Ohio-- A “Paving Scam Alert” has been issued for people living in and around Wayne County but investigators say homeowners across Ohio should pay attention.

They say, traveling, out-of-state, scam artists are becoming active along with the sunny summer weather and longer days.

The department has already received multiple calls reporting the suspicious door to door alleged “paving contractors.”

“Typically they prey upon the elderly,” said Cpt. Douglas Hunter, Wayne County Sheriff’s Department.

The reports of these possible con men is alarming because in the summer of 2012 at least two separate elderly citizens were taken for thousands of dollars, by a man investigators dubbed, “Jack the door to door paver.”

Cpt. Hunter even interviewed the man about the victims and captured it on undercover video.

“He seemed to have an answer for everything,” said Cpt. Hunter.

Records show the man promised to pave the victims' driveways with real asphalt but instead laid down a re-ground, no-tar product.

Cpt. Hunter said it was shoddy work and he could easily push a pen through the drive, even after several days.

Cpt. Hunters said the work should’ve cost $1500 - $2,000 at the most, but instead, the man charged one person $12,000 and the other victim $4,000.

To protect yourself, Cpt. Hunter advises using only local, trusted contractors.

He said be wary of out of town or out of state, door to door offers from people driving unmarked trucks.

Don’t trust anyone who claims to have “left over asphalt,” or anyone pressuring you to make a quick decision and pay with cash.

And he said always get a signed contract in writing.

“It’s important to get in writing the exact job you’re paying for,” said Cpt. Hunter.

The man who scammed the two elderly people previously couldn’t be criminally charged because there was no contract and it was his word against theirs.

The victims filed a civil lawsuit but soon afterward the man vanished and has never been seen in Wayne County since.

If you suspect someone is a scam artist, Cpt. Hunter said report it to your local sheriff’s department or the local police.

And he said be sure to watch out for any elderly neighbors or family members so that they don’t become victims.

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