Beware of ‘gypsy’ scammers who offer services

During the past six months, 'gypsy' scammers have been operating on Mercer Island. Usually a pair, they contact victims in public parking lots and offer a service such as roof repair, driveway sealing, and scratch and dent removal on vehicles.

These pairs have contacted victims at the grocery store, pharmacy and park and ride. They ask for half of the cost up front, do some poor quality work and then tell the victim that they will return the next day to finish the job. They do not return the next day and the service is never completed, and often actually causes damage to the vehicle, roof or driveway. These services or “businesses” are not legitimate and are not licensed.

The Mercer Island Police Department cautions Island residents not to conduct business with anyone who contacts them and solicits their services in a public and random manner, or door-to-door solicitors. Before paying anyone for services, residents should call the business to see if they are legitimate or do some extra research and contact previous customers. Once these gypsy scammers get your money, it is difficult for the police to locate them and take any action.

Residents who are contacted by a suspected gypsy scammer should disengage with the suspected scammer and call the police immediately so that officers can catch them.

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