BBB warns of asphalt paving scam

Officials are warning Minnesotans to watch for asphalt paving scams.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) says it has received several reports of contractors tricking homeowners with supposedly good deals and leaving victims with poor work or nothing at all for their money.

Homeowners have lost over $8,000 in some cases, the BBB says.

It can start with a contractor just showing up at your door or leaving a pamphlet, claiming they’ve been doing work in the area and noticed the condition of your driveway or sidewalk. They’ll then claim that they can provide a discount since they’re already working in the area but want a large percentage of the money upfront.

Oftentimes, after the contractor is paid, they’ll disappear completely, with contact numbers and emails not working in some cases. They may also use intimidation tactics to convince you to pay, the BBB says.

In an effort to avoid scams, the BBB recommends:

  • Be wary of unsolicited offers, as most scams involving contractors start that way.
  • Research companies and contractors before hiring anyone.
  • Get everything — estimates, completion dates, detailed work descriptions, costs, etc. — in writing.
  • Stagger payments so the work can be inspected at various stages.
  • Use safe payment methods, like a credit card, or write a check to a company instead of an individual. Paying cash leaves no way to stop the payment or get money back if something goes wrong.