San Francisco Police Department
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
As the fall season approaches, we think of the new school year,
football, Halloween and early rainfall. This is the time of year when
scam artists portraying themselves as independent roofers solicit work.
Commonly, the suspects target senior citizens tending to their front
yard or sweeping their sidewalk. They will drive up in a pick-up truck,
and sometimes they will even have a tar kettle in tow. The suspect will
offer a free inspection of the their roof. During the inspection the
suspect will walk around the roof and stomp is foot in a specific area.
When the suspect climbs down the ladder, he informs the homeowner that
the roof needs a little patchwork and the work would only take an hour.
If the homeowner seems a little skittish, the suspect floats a cash deal
with a “senior discount.” The suspect returns to the roof with brooms,
mops and a bucket of tar. After a lot of noise and dust, the homeowner
pays the suspect (usually between two and eight hundred dollars). It is
discovered later that no work was done, except that some gravel was
If you are approached by an independent roofer, check for identification
and see if he is licensed and bonded. You should note the license plate
of the truck. You should also call a friend for advice. And above all,
don’t allow him in your home.
If you see a neighbor interact with an independent roofer, you should
try to get the license plate and description of the truck first. If you
wish, you can walk over and introduce yourself and offer to call your
neighbor’s son or daughter for advice.
In either case, if you feel the roofer is dishonest or you feel
uncomfortable, call the police.