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Scam artists on prowl

By By Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star
March 21, 2001
Meridian police are warning area residents to be on the lookout for home improvement scam artists.
Lt. Wade Johnson said most scams target elderly residents, who may be more trusting of strangers. In the past, Meridian police have encountered both local and out-of-state con artists, he said.
Johnson said some common scams involve people who want to repave driveways, spray roofs with "miracle preservatives," fertilize lawns and shrubbery, repair windows and screens, do interior renovations or pressure wash homes  all at unbelievable prices.
Johnson said homeowners also should be wary of people soliciting work using materials left over from another job or who only accept cash payments. Residents should also be cautious of contractors who ask homeowners to obtain building permits, pressure homeowners for immediate decisions, offer exceptionally long guarantees or ask homeowners to pay for jobs up front.
Contractors who will not provide a contract or suggest the homeowner borrow money from a lender the contractor knows are probably also not legitimate, he said.
Residents who suspect they are being taken in by scam artists should call CrimeStoppers at 485-1860.
Marianne Todd is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail her at mtodd@themeridianstar.com.