Hawaiʻi Island police are warning the public about unlicensed contractors who appear to be soliciting our elderly citizens to hire them for various residential projects such as power washing and painting homes and roofs, paving driveways, and performing auto body and mechanical repairs.

The scam surfaces when the unlicensed contractor offers his or her services to perform the work and asks for full payment, often claiming that material and supplies need to be purchased in advance. The potential victim verbally agrees and often pays the subject, who completes only a portion of the agreed upon work and leaves, claiming that he or she will return later to complete the job. The victim makes several attempts to contact the subject, who never returns to complete the job.

Police caution the public against agreeing to having residential improvements done without first conducting their own research. Consumers should ask for documents of identification from the individuals performing any work and only sign a written contract that specifies conditions of the project, including a deadline.

Police ask anyone who may have been victimized in this type of scam to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or go to the nearest police station to file a complaint.

Consumers may also call the division of the Regulated Industries Complaints Office (RICO) of the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs (DCCA) at 808-587-3222. The RICO web address is http://hawaii.gov/dcca/rico/.