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Con Artists Target Elderly In Queens Roofing Scam

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A group of con artists is apparently scamming elderly Queens homeowners by convincing them to have unneeded work performed on their roofs.

Seventy-nine-year-old Lorraine — who did not want her last name used — told CBS 2’s John Slattery she is embarrassed after having paid nearly $2,000 for work to be done on her Middle Village home.

“Very, very angry that I was vulnerable enough to have that done,” she said.

Recently, Lorraine, who has lived near Juniper Park for 45 years, returned home and encountered a man who was calling out to her from the street and identified himself as a roofer.

She said he asked her in an Irish accent: “Excuse me, ma’am, but did you know that a portion of your roof must have blown out of place?”

The man told Lorraine he was doing work on a roof down the street and noticed her roof needed flashing, waterproofing and the gutters cleaned — and if she paid in cash, she would receive a discounted price of $1,950.

After the work was completed, Lorraine told Robert Holden, who heads the Juniper Park Civic Association. Holden then asked a local roofer, John Dickman, to look at the work and take photos.

“Basically what he did was he spray the roof with a silver, aluminum roof coating, and on his receipt that I had seen, he claimed that he had waterproofed everything,” said Dickman, who said no waterproofing was done.

After the fly-by-night roofer learned Lorraine was going to call the police, he called her and offered to refund the money, which was deposited Monday into her banking account.

Holden said it’s an old scam that preys on the elderly, especially women. The Juniper Park Civic Association said it has received other reports of similar roof scams in the area.

“We don’t know how widespread it is because the victims normally don’t get a roofer to check the work,” Holden said. “But in this case, we did.”

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