Palos Hills woman says scammers did shoddy work on driveway, then burglarized home

ByJason Knowles and Ann Pistone WLS logo
Thursday, October 19, 2023
Suburban woman says scammers shoddily sealed drive, burglarized home
A Palos Hills woman said scammers overcharged her for poor driveway work then came back and burglarized her home.

PALOS HILLS, Ill. (WLS) -- Consumer experts say early fall is a prime time of year for driveway workers looking to scam you or leave you with shoddy work.

One local woman lost thousands of dollars to a driveway scam. First they overcharged her for poor work, then they came back and burglarized her.

The Better Business Bureau says driveways that took a beating from the heat over the summer could be targeted.

Lorraine Rehak and her mother said their driveway sealing and patching job cost about $4,000.

"Three weeks later you can tell it's already wearing off, it's almost like they painted it," she said.

But the shoddy work is just part of the story. Rehak said workers approached her mother in their Palos Hills neighborhood in September. They offered to seal her driveway for $99. When it was done she said they changed the price.

"He came to the door and told her it was $700, she said 'no way' but ended up agreeing to pay about $300 cash," Rehak said.

That wasn't the end of the scheme

"She went down to get the money and she looked up and he had followed her into the house, so he saw where she was getting the money from," said Rehak.

She said that the workers came back to the home the next day and stole $3,600 cash from a filing cabinet.

"They knew exactly what time to come the next day, it was 3:15 p.m. and my mom said she was leaving at 3 p.m. At 3:15 p.m. they were in the house," said Rehak.

Her mom's roommate was in the home when the money was stolen and saw one of the driveway workers inside. They reported the incident to Palos Hills police.

"We're seeing an increasing number of door-to-door knockers," said Better Business Bureau President Steve Bernas. The BBB is warning people of driveway scams like this one. "They asked for cash, and that's a warning sign.

Bernas said asking for cash payments and not having a contract are two major red flags for any contracting or repair situation. He said you should always try to pay on a credit card if possible, or if writing a check make it payable to the company not an individual, because once you send a check to an individual they can take it and run with it.

The BBB said you should also make sure you have a contract that is very specific, outlining the scope of the work and the exact cost of every part of the job.

"Get a valid business card, check the phone number is working, and do not let anybody in your house," Rehak advised.

Experts also say for any contracting job, you should always research before hiring. Pay for the job in thirds, with a credit card, in case you need to dispute a charge. To avoid a theft like this, you should avoid hiring anyone who gets your business by knocking on your door.