BHA Alert: Roofing Repair Scam

Several Heights residents who fell victim to a roofing repair scam contacted the Brooklyn Heights Association office to ask that BHB share their info so that others can avoid being similarly duped. BHA Executive Director Judy Stanton says the rogue plays the game like this: “A personable-looking man, dressed like a workman, rings the doorbell during the day and introduces himself as a contractor working on roofs nearby, where he noticed that your roof has problems that need fixing and he offers to make the needed repairs.”

He suggests going go up to your roof, where he will point out the ‘defects.’ He then negotiates a price to be paid as soon as the work is done. He’ll propose to do the work that day because he has the roofing materials close at hand. He may or may not say he needs to call a helper, depending on how receptive you appear to be. (Helpers add to the price.)

Everyone knows that there are scaffolds all over Brooklyn Heights, work goes on all the time on nearly every block, and several people I know have fallen for this scam, having paid money only to find out that no repairs were done, or they weren’t done properly. In one instance, valuables in the house were missing (cash, credit cards left out where they were visible on the way to and from the roof).

Note: The scammer is presentable, he counts on the fact that owners haven’t been to their roof lately and will take him at his word, or they may have experienced roof leaks during recent rains and welcome the plausible—and convenient—offer to repair it. Do we need to say more?

Please never let anyone you do not know into your house. Never, ever hire anyone to do work in your home without verifying their references and qualifications.

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  • Slide

    It is an old and reliable home repair con. I saw it quite often when I was a police officer on Long Island. The “contractor” appears at your door and says he has some materials left over from a job he was doing in the neighborhood and can give you a really good price on repairing your driveway or fixing your roof, etc.

    There are whole extended families (used to be called gypsies but I don’t know if that is politically incorrect these days) that would come into an area from out of state and rip off a number of people before disappearing across state lines again. They often, if given the opportunity, would steal whatever they could get their hands on inside the house as well.

    I saw these “tips” to spotting these con artists.

    Any contractor who stops by your house unannounced because he or she “just happened to be in the neighborhood” and noticed that your house, driveway, chimney, etc. needs repair. He or she can give you a really good price, because some materials are left over from a job just finished.

    A contractor who arrives in an unmarked truck or van, with little equipment, and/or out-of-state license plates.

    A contractor who is unable to give you a business card with an address and telephone number.

    A contractor that will give you an unbelievable low price for the work so that he or she can use your house as a “model.”

    A contractor who will not give you time to get other estimates. Or who tells you that he or she cannot come back another time because of another job in another town.

    These tips and others regarding “con games” can be found at the below web site.

    http://doj.nh.gov/consumer/sourcebook/schemes-swindles-scams.htm

  • Sarah L.

    I spoke with him, but on the phone — and he is VERY aggressive. Fast talking, pushy and although I declined, he didn’t make it easy.

  • Linda

    He’s been down on Clinton Street and has tried to pull this scam, twice.

  • Kate

    He made his way to Degraw St….my husband actually took his card, which seems pretty legit. We have the information that is on it. Should we do anything with it?

  • Jo Ann

    Kate – please post it.

  • ClintonStRez

    Oh, and the “low” price he quoted was a couple of thousand dollars.

  • j

    Also, remind your kids not to take candy from strangers.

  • Mr. Crusty

    and not to eat the yellow snow

  • David on Middagh

    I ate the yellow snow, but only because a stranger told me it was candy.

  • hoppy

    Maybe the next person to come across this guy should invite him to the roof, take him to the edge and proclaim that he’s “having himself an accident.”

  • Mr. Crusty

    Be cautious ladies and gentlemen, we have no idea if this is the same individual. These con artists don’t normally have a contractor’s license and a BBB A+ rating. Might just be a coincidence.

  • Villager

    @Kate
    If the contractor that gave you the card is a con, then they’ve jumped through a lot of hoops to make themselves appear legit, including BBB Accredited. I’d figure that the 3 closed complaints over 3 years on the BBB site is at least par with the industry. Additionally, you can check the license number on nyc.gov and it’s in there, more or less the same (address is different, could be residential mailing address instead of biz address).
    Not to say some con is not handing out phony cards, but we should be careful not to bring the hammer down on an innocent guy (yes, you gave a disclaimer).