We've all heard of scams over the phone and internet. But sometimes, they even show up at your front door.
Over the years, Gene Johnsrud thought he'd seen it all. But Tuesday, the owner of Rock Valley Manufactures found himself in a first, the victim of scam.
"They said they would finish this small load and if I wanted more, they would lay more," said Johnsrud.
An asphalt crew showed up at his business and offered to pave his gravel driveway for $1,900. They settled on $800. Johnsrud agreed as if it was to good to be true.
Johnsrud added, "He said, 'all right, we'll have the crew here in ten minutes."
Before he could blink, twelve men were already starting to lay the material. But it wasn't what he'd agreed too. They put down cold patch material instead of hot mix asphalt.
After realizing that something wasn't quite right he spoke up to the foreman.
"I said lets get the police up here and they can listen too. And that's when he got out of his truck, hollered out to the crew, 'load it up," said Johnsrud. "They left everything as it is, loaded it up, it was less than ten minutes, they were gone. And they were running to their trucks, they had done it before."
Construction scams like this are more common than you think. Authorities in Sioux County say they've seen it before and there are ways to avoid it.
Nate Huizenga, Sioux County Deputy Sheriff, warned, "If someone approaches you to do a job, that should probably be a flag to you. Normally if you're going to have some concrete work done or asphalt work done you're going to seek someone out that you know and is reputable in your area."
A hard lesson learned. As for Johnsrud. He's got a mess of a driveway, but at least no money was lost.
Johnsrud summed it up, saying,"If it seems to be good to be true it probably is."
According to the Better Business Bureau, summer is a key time for con artists to scam people looking for a home repair bargain.
They warn homeowners to be leery of asphalt contractors going door to door or those claiming to have leftover asphalt from another job.
You shouldn't be pushed into making a quick decision. Don't enter into a project without a written contract and cash only sales are a red flag.
And, scammers will often drive unmarked trucks or have out of state license plates. Even if they have a local phone number, scammers have been purchasing local cell phone plans to appear as if they are a local area business. A little research will reveal that they have no permanent address or are traveling from out of state.
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