[Editor's note: The following information is from a Stoneham Police Department press statement.]
Recently, a Stoneham resident was approached at his home by a male offering to fill cracks in the driveway with asphalt. After agreeing to this minor work, the homeowner was surprised to find that the workers had paved the entire driveway, including paving over the drainage system. The workers were intimidating and demanded $3,600 for their work. After an officer contacted the paving company, their phone number was disconnected. The Stoneham Police Department is seeking criminal charges in Woburn District Court against the paving company.
All residents, especially the elderly, should be very hesitant about having any home repairs performed by contractors that show up at their door unannounced. Recent and ongoing scams are directed at performing driveway repairs or resurfacing, tree trimming, chimney cleaning and repairs. Should a homeowner agree to have work done, the quality of the work is often inferior and the final cost of the job becomes exorbitant. When the victim questions the price increase, the workers intimidate the homeowner by threatening to call the police. Many times these scam artists will drive their victims to the bank in order for them to be paid in cash. Last spring, a Stoneham resident fell victim to a driveway resurfacing scam, losing $5,000 cash.
Another current trend is what is sometimes referred to as “Diversion B&E’s”. These types of crimes occur when two or more persons come to your door and present themselves as contractors or service technicians. While one person distracts the homeowner, the other individuals move throughout the home stealing pocketbooks, wallets, jewelry and any other visible valuables.
Residents are encouraged to call the police department if they are approached in any of the manners described above or if they should see a neighbor having this type of work performed, especially if the neighbor is elderly.