HOME REPAIR FRAUDS
KRGV-Channel 5 recently ran the story of a 72-year-old Donna woman who was scammed out of $7,500 by so-called home repairmen. It appeared they did nothing to repair a supposed leaky wall of her residence.
In Weslaco, during the 3rd week of January, a similar occurrence took place. The owner of a mobile home on Turquoise Drive was approached by a man and his twin sons, saying that they would weather strip the roof of the home. They did do some work, applying a thin (as paper) coat of white substance to the roof. The owner was charged $550 for the work, which the owner paid. Later, when the owner inspected the job, he determined that he had been grossly overcharged for the thin coating, which was already flaking off.
These men called themselves "Mobile Home Service." Their card gave Pharr as their location and a cell phone number. Their business card stated to ask for "Tom" or "Rich." I wonder if "Rich" is a real name, or if it is their financial status.
A second home repair fraud, perpetrated in Weslaco, occurred at Rio Valley Estates. This one was really extreme, although the crook did not get any money, mostly because of his greed. In this case, the repairman approached a 68-year-old resident of the park and told her that he wanted to inspect her trailer, which he said was under warranty by the manufacturer. Of course, his inspection revealed that the "chimney cap" needed to be replaced and when he told the resident that, he said that he had already completed the work. Great! Right? It was under warranty. The catch?
When he returned the next day, he told the resident that there was NO warranty after all, and that the resident owed him $18,200 for the work. That's right--over $18,000. Probably more than the trailer is worth. The lady wrote him a check for the amount. He came back, telling her that her check had bounced. Wouldn't yours?
This time, he said that she really needed to pay the bill, but he would settle for $7,220. Again, she wrote him a check. And again, lucky for her, it, too, bounced. Apparently, he gave up after two bounced checks. Thank goodness, she got the last laugh.
This man gave his name as Donald Brown and said he was a roofer. I can think of a better word for him. The man is Anglo, in his 40's or 50's. He was driving a brown El Camino truck.
If you have been the victim of a home repair scam or if someone has only attempted to scam you, call your local law enforcement agency and make a report. Always, be wary of anyone who approaches you by going door to door. The repairman could be legitimate, or he could be a crook just preying on older residents. Before you authorize any work, call a trusted friend, the city code enforcement department, or the Better Business Bureau, to check the person out. The BBB in Weslaco can be reached at (956) 969-1804. The City of Weslaco Code Enforcement number is (956) 447-3401.
ID Theft has become one of the most prevalent nonviolent crimes reported today. In just the last 3 months, 34 cases of this serious offense have been reported to the Weslaco Police Department. Usually, these cases involve a compromised Social Security number. If you are a victim of ID Theft or suspect you might be, below you will find website links that provide useful information.
www.texasfightsidtheft.gov www.txdps.state.tx.us/administration/driver_licensing_control/idtheft/idtheft2.htm www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/
For information on how not to be a TARGET FOR THIEVES, click the following link ThievesPickTarget.pdf