A paving scam with a new twist is being pulled on some area residents.
Deputies in Columbus and Bladen counties are on the lookout for a group of men claiming to have leftopver gravel from a driveway job, which they offer for free. After spreading the gravel, they hand the homeowner a bill for thousands of dollars, and offer to take payments.
Bladen County has seen more of the con men so far, according to authorities, but they are reportedly working in communities along the border as well. The elderly and women at home alone are the most common targets.
“This is a variation on a flim flam that seems to come around in the spring of the year,” said Bladen County Sheriff James McVicker. There is a group from around Augusta Georgia/South Carolina who make their living going around offering to paint barn roofs or seal driveways. Once they do the work, with inferior paint or sealant, they want to charge exorbitant prices. They also try to gain entry to the home to steal small items of jewelry or money. This is the first time I have heard of them offering to gravel a driveway but it is just a variation on an old scam we see come around every spring.”
On Wednesday, McVicker said, a group of men driving a gray pickup and a large white truck with gravel approached a residence, and told the older man there that they had some gravel left over from a job nearby and offered to give it to him to help the community.
“After they started spreading the gravel they presented him with a bill for $4,000. He told them he did not have that and they finally said they would do it for $500.00 or he could make payments. The man called his son who is a law enforcement officer and his son said he would come talk to them. When given this information, the men loaded up their truck and left.”
If the driveway con men come to your home, get the tag number and a vehicle description. Report any suspicious activity to law enforcement immediately.