Contact 2: Contractors being scammed

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

(KTVI) - Contractors beware, the scam that puts local business owners on the hook for a bad deal. It`s electronic fraud with an eye for big bucks ....quick.
A couple contractors who called us describe an electronic scheme. In effect they become the middle man in a bogus transaction. Summertime is peak season if you repair air conditioners. Or you're a roofer. But in the midst of the endless service calls, someone is trying to pull a couple of local contractors into a bogus transaction. An email was sent to Shane Awtrey of Awtrey Heating and Air Conditioning. He says she told him she's moving to this area from out of town. 'So she wanted me to accept the four thousand dollar charge with the credit card and pay the movers three thousand dollars and keep a thousand dollars for the down payment on the new system. '
Greg Mans owns UpRight Construction. He got a text from someone out of state. The person would give Greg a credit card number to pay $3,000 for the roof. Plus an extra $5,000. 'They were paying several thousand over the amount we requested in reference to, That person said take the extra funds and we`ll tell you who to give those funds to once the job`s complete.'
Interestingly both properties are located in the Kirkwood area. Greg called the police who determined the credit card was stolen. Shane says it's not unusual to communicate with customers electronically.
'A lot of our interactions are done on the e-mail, WE email all of our customers. We get a lot of referrals that come in via email from existing customers. So it`s completely normal .'
In this case though, the red flags were everywhere. Including the poor grammar and broken English in the e-mails. And both Greg and Shane checked with city hall to find out who actually owned the property. Greg says it became clear they couldn't accept the job.
'The contractor`s going to get nipped because the credit card , if it is stolen, they`re going to come back and want their money back. You`re already got the labor and materials done on the job. And you`re out.'
Electronic communication is good, it's quick. But the person receiving the request will need to pay close attention to all aspects of the quest for service. If you have a consumer complaint call us at 800 782-2222. The line is open Monday through Thursday between 11am and 1pm.
Follow Bonita on Facebook and Twitter:
Bonita Cornute on Facebook
Bonita Cornute on Twitter