Police are investigating two recent reports of a roofing scam targeting the elderly in southeast Portland.
In both incidents, reported in June, a pair of men approached homeowners and claimed to notice a problem with the roof. The men offered to fix it, asked for payment in cash and one of the men rode along with the victim to the bank to get the money.
"I just felt like I was scum, you know, just scum," said Elma Matocha, who paid the pair around $7,500 in mid-June.
She said the two men, one older and one younger, walked into the house.
"He acted like he knew us, you know, ‘how you doing? Your roof's been fine?' But he says, ‘I see a bubble,'" she said.
Based on the way he acted, Matocha thought he was the person who once worked on the roof of her house on SE Lincoln Street. She followed the two men upstairs into the attic.
She said the men pointed out water on the wall and floor. Some of it was on some family heirlooms stored in the attic.
Then came the sales pitch.
"They said, ‘we have a job down the street that way and a job down the street this week,'" recalled Matocha. "He said, ‘this isn't a very big job, so we can get this done.' Acting like he knew us."
The pair pretended to work in the attic. Afterward, they asked for payment in cash, which Matocha now recognizes as a red flag.
Matocha gave one man a ride to the bank, while the other said he was returning to their other roofing job.
When the man asked to be dropped off and picked up from the bank a block away, Matocha began to suspect she was being scammed.
"That was really a red flag," she said. "But you know, if I'd a stopped… I didn't know whether he was armed. By that time, I knew that I had been taken."
Another man fell victim to a similar scam on June 29.
The 89-year-old victim, who lives on the 1900 block of SE 37th Avenue, paid the men $8,200 for work on his chimney. According to the police report, an officer did not see any signs work was done.
In both incidents, the suspects are described as white men, one in his 40s, the other in his 20s. Matocha said the men drove a white, four-door pickup truck. The other victim said they were driving a white van.
If you know anything about these incidents, call Portland police.
If you are hiring someone to work on your home, police recommend researching the company's background or asking friends and family for recommendations.
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