By now, most people realize that it’s never a good idea to give out personal information like credit card and bank account numbers over the telephone when someone calls claiming to be a business and demand payment.
But what if they show up at your door offering a service you need?
According to Carter County Sheriff Chris Bryant, this happens and it’s happening here. The instances become more common after major storms when “roofers” make house calls.
“I know over the last couple years there have probably been about half a dozen [cases],” Bryant said. “A lot of these people try to manipulate people into paying up front or paying for half of the materials. Then they leave and never come back.”
Ardmore Director of Development Services Jessica Scott said her office also receives calls on the same issue.
 “We do get a lot of calls,
especially after a big storm,” Scott said. “They’ll pay up front and then the people never show up for work.” She said currently there is nothing she can do about it which is part of the reason she is proposing a business license for the City of Ardmore.
 “Then you could ask if they had a business license from the city, and if they did, we would have contact information,” Scott said.
Bryant said often these scammers are not from the area, and that the odds of catching them are slim. Therefore it is best to avoid being scammed in the first place.
“My recommendation is to try to use local folks if you can and make sure they are bonded and insured,” Bryant said.
Ardmore Police Capt. Keith Ingle provided tips to avoid being ripped off by phony roofers. In an email, Ingle said:
• Get and check referrals: Ask neighbors and friends who they recommend as a roofer.  If you feel unsure about a roofer, ask for a few referrals from your neighborhood. Follow up on the referrals.
 • Check online for any reviews.  
 • Get several estimates: Don’t just rely on one estimate.  Get at least 2 or 3 estimates.
• Don’t judge on price alone.
 • Get a contract and read the contract before signing. Make sure you are comfortable with the terms of the contract.  Ask for a warranty if the roofer did not offer one.
 • Only give a down payment to a contractor you know and trust.  Don’t pay in full until the job is completed.
 •A partial down payment for a larger job is not unreasonable but terms should be put in the contract.  One-third of the total amount is a common down payment request: This often gives a contractor reassurance that he won’t get scammed by the homeowner, and often provides funds to purchase materials. You can also agree to purchase the materials needed yourself and have them ready for contractor to install  Never provide full payment until you are satisfied the work is completed as specified in the contract.”
Sheriff Bryant said scammers often target the elderly and the Carter Sheriff’s Department can look into any roofers who seem questionable.
“If anybody has any questions about a company, they’re welcome to call us, and we’re more than happy to check them out,” Bryant said.