Local

Scammers target elderly homeowners

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A warning for homeowners across the Houston area -- police are searching for a group of travelers targeting the elderly and skipping town with their money.

Neighbors say two older couples in the Oak Forest neighborhood were duped out of hundreds by that shady crew of contractors. One victim told us the men entered her home and bullied her into handing over a check for his shoddy work.

Cheshire Lane is a quiet street, but it's been busy lately with contractors doing cement work. But one 87-year-old woman, who doesn't want to be identified, is warning her older neighbors about some so-called shady contractors who are going door to door.

"They called us mama and papa," the elderly victim said.

She says two aggressive men came up to her door Monday, offering to re-pave her driveway for $399. She says the workers simply scattered some powdered cement, then tried pressuring her and her 91-year-old husband into giving them $1,000.

"While the son was talking to me here, he was in the truck hollering different things at the son," the victim said.

The suspicious contractors left the elderly couple a receipt but it had no business name or a contact number. It had only the name "Steve Miller" and an indication the customer gave a $500 check, which the couple says the men quickly cashed.

"I wouldn't ever take that," neighbor Jim Strahan said. "That's not some professional guy. That's somebody who did it on their own computer or had a kid do it for him."

We checked the Houston Police Department, and they told us they're familiar with groups swindling the elderly like this. He says the culprits are travelers.

"My suggestion is, under no circumstances, do you pay in full for a construction job up front," Officer Gilbert Brillon said. "It's just not good business."

The victims describe the contractors as two large framed men with dark complexions. They identified themselves as a father/son crew, and they are driving a white truck. They appeared to be Indian Americans.

Police are encouraging any victims to give them a call.

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