Sealy PD warns against Irish Travelers scams

The Sealy News, Texas/April 10, 2009

If an offer sounds too good to be true, chances are it probably is.

That's the warning Sealy Police Chief John Tollett is giving residents after a Sealy resident this week reported being taken advantage of by individuals known as Irish Travelers.

Tollett explained Irish Travelers are traveling bands of gypsies known for performing home improvements and some are known for being scam artists. The group has been working in the Sealy area.

So far, the police department has received only one scam report.

"They look primarily for construction-type work. They'll try to sell you a spray for the roof that they say will make it last longer or a sealant on the driveway, but what happens, generally, is they'll give you one price, but once they finish the job, they give you another price and it's typically higher," Tollett said.

That's the case with the Sealy resident. The reported incident involved the subjects placing a sealant on a blacktop driveway and overcharging the customer from the original price quoted.

"The resident was quoted $300 to begin with, but when it was done was told it would cost $600," Tollett said.

The chief said the travelers are known to prey on the elderly, being that they are more willing to trust people and sometimes obtain payment up front and never return to perform the job.

"Make sure you have a contract and I would even suggest you call the Better Business Bureau and ask for references. Here's the deal, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is," Tollett said.

The police department cannot get the money back or fine the travelers.

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