The tarmac scam is one of the fastest growing scams around the world, with thousands of victims in numerous countries every year. The scam is one of the lesser known scams in the United States, but as more reports of victims being scammed come from more states every year, warnings are going out to Americans about the scam and how to avoid falling victim to it. Here is what you should know about the tarmac scam.
What Is the Tarmac Scam?
The tarmac scam, also known as the asphalt scam and driveway fraud, targets homeowners with asphalt driveways. The homeowner receives an unsolicited offer for repairing or resurfacing their driveway from a door-to-door salesman or a pamphlet left at their door. The offer is often low cost and the price reduction is explained with reasons that seem plausible and opportune.
The tarmac scam typically ends in one of two ways for the victim. The victim may pay part of the payment upfront and never see any work done, or the victim pays for the entire job, only to find that the work is shoddy and must be redone. Either scenario leaves the victim missing thousands of dollars and still having to repair their driveway.
How To Avoid the Tarmac Scam
Don’t respond to unsolicited offers. If you think your driveway needs repaired, contact a reputable local company to do an inspection and provide an estimate.
Get a contract in writing. Scammers don’t want to leave a paper trail that can outline their criminal behavior, so they will be hesitant to provide a written contract outlining the work to be provided, material costs, start and complete dates, payment arrangements, and warranty information.
Check the reputation of the company. In many cases, scammers invent a company and company contact information for their scams. The Better Business Bureau keeps track of valid companies and any complaints against them. A simple Google search can also pull up contact information and reviews for a particular company.
Choose a payment method with protection. If you pay for services with a credit card and the company turns out to be fraudulent, the credit card company provides protections including refunding fraudulent charges. A personal check made out to a company can be cancelled for a minimal fee, but it can be very difficult to get cash or digital money transfers back.
Avoiding becoming a victim of the tarmac scam is easy when you know what to look for. There are numerous legitimate businesses that can repair or replace your driveway, so there is no need to accept unsolicited offers regardless of the price. A properly placed and maintained driveway can last for decades, so you want to make sure the job is done right by a company with experience.
Have you had an experience with a tarmac scam? Tell us your story in the comments below.
Toi Williams began her writing career in 2003 as a copywriter and editor and has authored hundreds of articles on numerous topics for a wide variety of companies. During her professional experience in the fields of Finance, Real Estate, and Law, she has obtained a broad understanding of these industries and brings this knowledge to her work as a writer.