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Officials say beware of sealcoating scams this summer

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Peter Atkins
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Adobe Stock

Authorities are warning people about a home repair scam that is targeting the elderly in Michigan.

With warmer weather it’s not uncommon for people to get a cracked driveway sealcoated. Sealcoating is a black liquid barrier spread on top of existing asphalt to make an old driveway look new. But, officials say criminals are targeting senior citizens in sealcoating scams.

They say the criminals will create a sense of urgency, take the money, and go. Katharyn Barron works in the office of Michigan's Attorney General. She says, "We do advise that is always best to get some quotes, comparison, shop. Deal with people who are local, who you know you'll be able to find next week."

Michgian's Better Business Bureau shared information on what you need to know if you are looking to get a new sealcoat. They say to "seek out bids from 2-3 companies before making a decision" and that it's a red-flag when "crews ... come to your door and tell you they are working on a driveway nearby and have left-over material. Reputable companies know how much they need for each job, so it is unlikely that they will ever have left-overs." 

Barron says call law enforcement if you are approached, especially if it's an out-of-state license plate.

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so it's much better to prevent the scam than try to chase these people down afterward. Because their whole scheme is you're not going to be able to find them," Barron says. She also shared a website from the AG's office which aims to "help you be a savvy consumer and avoid tricks criminals use to steal from you."

You can also file a complaint in the Attorney General's consumer protection division.