Con Artists Are Already At Work

Thursday, December 13th 2007, 9:59 pm
By: News On 6

This is the type of natural disaster that brings out the scam artists. News On 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright reports one has already struck, taking a woman’s $400 check, without doing any work. The trees and branches littering people’s yards and rooftops are a problem. But, homeowners should be wary of anyone who knocks on the door, offering to help, but wanting to be paid first.

The News On 6 spoke with an 87-year-old woman who thought she was hiring someone trustworthy, but who turned out to be a liar and a crook.

Omalee Carver still only has a gas fireplace for light and warmth. The ice storm also destroyed her large, old trees and created a huge mess. A man she had hired to do yard work before offered to take care of it for $ 400. But, after one swipe with his saw, he said his blade broke and asked her to pay him first, so he could get it fixed. That was Monday morning and he hasn't been back since.

"I told him on the phone, I trusted you and he wouldn't answer. He said, ‘I'm going to come over and settle this with you.’ You're going to bring me the $400? ‘Well, I don't have any money or something.’ He thought he was going to sit down and con me,” said Omalee Carver.

The father of one of Omalee's neighbors saw her sweeping up limbs with a broom. Once he heard her story, he decided to help. He and other neighbors cut and stacked piles of limbs in Omalee's yard, for free. He's not too impressed with those who take advantage especially of the elderly and especially in a crisis.

"I can't imagine anyone doing that. I think they ought to be taken out and horse whipped,” said Gene Powell, Omalee’s neighbor.

Be leery of anyone offering to do tree removal, roof repair or drive-way work. Get names of reputable companies from family or friends. Get a couple of estimates in writing and never pay the entire fee up front. Omalee says the disappointment of losing $400 is more than overshadowed by the kindness of her neighbors.

"I just can't believe it; I can't praise them high enough, really can't,” said Omalee Carver.

Omalee tried to stop payment on her check, but the man had cashed it immediately. The city of Oologah is requiring all contractors to register with the city, to avoid situations like this.

Watch the video: Woman Loses $400 To Scammer