There’s a new class of despicable low-life in the neighborhood: the Rapid Repair con artist. According to an e-mail blast from Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, his office has been fielding complaints from residents about fraudsters who – somehow – got a hold of the Rapid Repairs client directory and are shaking down vulnerable Sandy victims.
Hopefully, once they’re off the streets, we’ll find out how in the world the city let a database of Sandy victims in dire straits fall into the hands of criminals.
Here’s the e-mail from Cymbrowitz:
I’ve received a few reports from residents who tell me that scam artists pretending to be from the city’s Rapid Repairs program have been showing up at peoples’ homes offering to do work, such as remove a boiler, or have asked residents for payment for services. Apparently the scammers have gotten hold of the Rapid Repairs directory, which contains names and addresses of residents who require repairs.
Let me be clear on this: Rapid Repairs will NEVER ask you for payment. If they do ask for payment, they are not from the Rapid Repairs program. Do not let this person into your home!
In order to protect yourself and your loved ones from these scam artists, here are some tips you should know:
- All Rapid Repairs workers are required to carry an ID and badge, identifying them as a Rapid Repairs worker. Always ask to see the badge and ID of the person who says they are from Rapid Repairs.
- When Rapid Repairs comes to your house for the first time, you will be given a card with the phone number of your Rapid Repairs site supervisor. If you are not sure if the person at your door is from Rapid Repairs, contact your site supervisor immediately.
- If you feel endangered by the person at your front door, call 911 immediately.
Home repair frauds increase following major storms, and there are corrupt people who will try to prey on those who have already lost so much. As we work through this recovery process together, I want to make sure everyone stays safe, and that means knowing how to protect yourself from con artists.
As always, I’m here to assist you. Please feel free to call my office at (718) 743-4078, email@example.com or visit my temporary district office at 2658 Coney Island Avenue (between Avenues W and X), which is open Monday – Thursday from 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. and on Fridays until 5 p.m.