Neighborhoods across the country are being victimized. Con artists are turning a small amount of spray paint into a huge payoff for them – at a homeowner’s expense. The scam is simple. The con artists go from home to home in a neighborhood speaking to the owner or leaving a note if the person was not home. They tell the homeowner that they are working for the city, putting into practice a new ordinance that requires homeowners to paint their house number on the curb. Then the scammer asks the homeowner for money to do the job. When the cash is handed over, they go down to the curb and spray paint the house number on it. Then they leave before the homeowner gets suspicious.
Scammers are also going about this curb painting con-job a little bit differently. Some will paint the house number on the curb and then walk up to the house and ask for a “donation” to pay for it. They usually charge about $15 to $20 for the minute amount of spray paint. But they’re willing to take anything they can get – as little as a $1 if that’s all the homeowner is willing to pay.
Because these scammers often paint the numbers before asking the homeowner for permission, the homeowner feels obligated to pay for it because the work was already “completed.” If homeowners start arguing with the curb painting scammers, they tell the homeowner that the curb painting sign is there to help police officers, firefighters and other emergency services find the house. While this may help first responders get to the house faster, it is not a legal requirement and certainly not something homeowners need to pay for.
A Des Moines, Iowa city spokesperson talked to KCRG News because the scam was terrorizing their area:
“The numbers could be blocked by a parked vehicle or snow in the winter; under these circumstances, the painted address would not be an effective means in which emergency responders could find a location in the City.”
Police have received scam alerts from all over the country. But recently, the scam is hitting California, Kentucky, Ohio and other states.
The scam has had multiple variations of the year. And in 2015 a group of New Jersey residents reported a man who went around collecting cash to paint numbers on the curb – but he didn’t even do the job. Talk about a low life.
When the residents reported him to the police, he rushed back and did the painting job. But the police didn’t arrest him for separating innocent victims from their money.
The man behind this curb scam is Michael Loren Carson from Palm Beach, California.
Carson was arrested fro the scam in 2006. He charged $15 and asked people to write checks out to “CAS” which he said was “Curb Address Service” – although that was just a trick. He would later add “H” to the check which spelled out “Cash.”
If someone asks for money to paint your curb, tell them about this scam. Beware of con artists knocking on your door.
Have you ever been contacted by a con artist? What did you do?