Maplewood police warn residents of contractor scams

MAPLEWOOD, NJ — Maplewood police detectives are investigating a number of contractor scams in which a person approaches residents while outside their home or by going door-to-door and offers to do work around the house and property, according to a press release from the Maplewood Police Department. The most recent incidents occurred in the area of Prospect and Yale streets. 

Anyone with information or video of the suspects should reach out to Detective Lt. Michael Palmerezzi at 973-761-7913 or mpalmerezzi@maplewoodnj.gov.

Residents are warned to be extremely cautious when selecting a contractor to do work on their home. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Maplewood has a township ordinance that requires anyone who solicits door-to-door to have a permit and register with the town. Residents who are randomly solicited by persons asking to do work should not accept or further engage the individuals.

“I am asking residents to call the police immediately at 973-762-1234 if something like this occurs. Let us determine if they are legitimate so that you do not become a victim,” Chief Jim DeVaul said. 

Some tips that residents should keep in mind when dealing with this type of situation are: 

  • Never let them into your house; they are strangers and it is dangerous.
  • Never give them money upfront; be skeptical.
  • If the deal is too good to be true, that’s because it is too good to be true.  
  • Reputable contractors will not solicit door-to-door.
  • Do not waste your time; get references and do your homework. 
  • Legitimate contractors will not claim to have leftover materials from another job as professional contractors know how much material is needed to complete a project. There are no “leftovers.” This is likely a scam.  
  • If you are being pressured to make a fast decision, say “no thank you” and move on. Reputable contractors will provide a written estimate for you to consider.
  • If no contract is offered, stay away. Insist upon a written contract specifying in detail the work to be performed and the agreed upon price. Do not pay them any remaining balance until you are satisfied with the work that was completed.
  • Cash-only special price deals are a major red flag.
  • Obtain more than one quote from local or reputable contractors.

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