RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – If you need some paving work done, don't be so quick to give up your cash. A local business called 12 to warn the public about a paving scam making the rounds in the area.
"Scam artist in the area," that's the subject line of two emails we received from a company called Best Bully Sticks in Richmond. The owners didn't want to talk on camera out of fear family members may be harmed. The email claims someone by the name of George Stanley showed up, dressed as a maintenance supervisor with left over material and offered to do some paving work.
A quick Google search of that name and dozens of articles came up, attaching a George Stanley to paving scams across the country. At this point, there is no indication that this George Stanley has any ties to paving companies in the Richmond area.
The Better Business Bureau says the "Left Over Material Scam" is one it sees quite often.
"This is the same scam that works on consumers. It works on the elderly, it works on young folks. They come up and say I have an extra asphalt in back of the truck this is your lucky day," said Tom Gallagher with the BBB.
The BBB says it has also heard about other complaints against someone by the name of George Stanley linked to paving scams.
"This guy has the same last name as a bunch of folks, a couple of them are pretty good a couple of them aren't pretty good," Gallagher said.
Best Bully Sticks claims Stanley's crew, partially paved its lot and tried to drive away. It notified police and filed a report. Richmond police says it's investigating. The company has since hired a legitimate company to do the job.
The BBB says legitimate constructions sites are prime areas for these paving scam artists. Crooks are betting when they show up to your door, they will fit in with other workers. If you're not careful, before you realize it, you've been scammed and the crooks are gone.
"I can understand how we can all fall for this stuff. We think it is our good fortune. But you know, I don't know why I would want to buy anything from somebody who is such a poor contractor that had enough asphalt on the back of his truck that he could do my whole repaving job," he said.
The BBB says the best way to protect yourself, do your homework on the company and get several estimates. You can also check out a contractor's license at the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation's website. The BBB warns consumers, speed, secrecy and selectivity are sure signs of a scam.
"If you've got one of those things, it's a little iffy, you got two of those things, you've got a scam. If you've got three of the things, lock the doors," said Gallagher.
A good rule of thumb, always be cautious when a salesman randomly shows up to your door. Experts also remind consumers to get at least three bids and get a contract in writing. When you get the contract, remember, don't sign anything you don't understand.