Don’t let fraud embarrass you

The only thing spookier than a kid in a costume at your door is a crooked paving contractor. Don’t be embarrassed if you think you were scammed by one of these clowns — report it to the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office.

The Sheriff’s Office is investigating reports of an unlicensed paving contractor working in the Ely and Babbitt areas who offers driveway paving and repair at low prices. The contractor performs work with substandard materials and later presents the homeowner with a bill many times the original estimate.

The contractor’s practice has been to operate by verbal agreement and to offer a receipt after payment with little detail and a false name and phone number.

In some cases, the investigation has been hampered by delayed reporting because victims are embarrassed to admit that the contractor had taken advantage of them, the Sheriff’s Office said. The contractor may be targeting elderly people.

The Sheriff’s Office reminds people to require written estimates of contractors, licensing information and references, especially of contractors they are not familiar with.

Anyone who has been victimized by such practices or knows of someone who has been involved in the fraudulent practice is asked to call 911.