FRUITPORT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) - The Fruitport Township Department of Public Safety is investigating possible fraud targeting elderly residents.
A 93-year-old female resident recently reported a male initiated contact at the resident's home in the 300 block of Park Street.
The woman did not know the male, and the contact was unsolicited by the resident, police said in a news release.
The male explained to the resident there was a crack in the roof of the home near the chimney and offered to repair the roof at a cost of $4,700.
The male tried to convince the woman to withdraw money from her bank, and even offered to provide transportation to the bank to make the withdrawal.
A relative of the woman intervened, and the male quickly left the scene.
The male did not provide a written estimate for the repair, a business card or other literature, and did not offer information regarding whether he was a licensed contractor – signs of a fraud, police said.
In these types of scams, offenders typically target elderly victims because they are unlikely to follow the offender onto the roof to inspect whether or not there is actually damage or the extent of damage.
Other residents of the Fruitport area who may have had similar unsolicited contacts of this nature are encouraged to call the Fruitport Township Police Department at 231.865.8477 or Silent Observer at 231.72.CRIME (722-7463).
The following suggestions are offered by police to avoid being scammed --
-- Do not deal with unsolicited contractors who come to your home. Call police if you think that person is engaged in possible fraud or may be casing your home.
-- Deal with only reputable contractors -- check with friends or family members to see who they have used for similar projects.
-- Check with the Better Business Bureau for information about the company.
-- Ask for references and check them.
-- Obtain written estimates (and/or a contract, if applicable) that specify the work to be done, the agreed-upon price for the work, and the timeframe in which the work will be completed.
-- Obtain three or more estimates from different contractors; if there is a wide discrepancy, ask them to justify their price.
-- Verify the contractor is properly licensed for those projects requiring a licensed contractor.
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