If the black flies are returning to Waldo County, the scammers can’t be far behind. Jeff Trafton, Belfast chief of police, wants to alert citizens, especially senior citizens, that this is the time of year that many unscrupulous people calling themselves contractors are trying to scam people out of their money by offering property repairs, remodeling, or renovations at unbelievably low prices. If scammers can convince someone to make a down payment on their promised work, they walk away and the homeowner has probably been scammed and will never see the scammer and their down payment again.

Confidence men and women exploit human characteristics such as trust and lack of awareness, and have victimized individuals from all walks of life. Frequently victims are so overtaken by feelings of hatred, embarrassment, shame, fear, self-blame or despair that they don’t know how to move forward, let alone report the crime to law enforcement agencies.

Trafton, chairman of the Waldo County Triad, encouraged all citizens to protect themselves from scammers by following a few self-protective rules. Get a signed contract containing: a description the of the work to be done, your cost for the work to be done, the name, address and phone number of the company to be doing the work, and local references for work done. If the so-called business is a scam, the experienced trickster will usually leave and move on to another potential victim who does not ask as many questions. Citizens can call their local law enforcement office or 911 for support.

Trafton said it would help the police to identify these criminals if citizens can get a registration plate number off any vehicle they are driving when they visit. The police can use the registration numbers to help identify the scammers, track them and put them out of business.

The Waldo County Triad is a three-way partnership of citizens, law enforcement agencies and local organizations dedicated to improving the safety of people 50 and over in their homes and communities through education and service.