Scam alert: DeKalb County sheriff warns about possible repair fraud

Person of interest identified in cases that prompted warning: DeKalb County Sheriff’s office

DeKalb County Sheriff’s squad car vehicle

SYCAMORE – A person of interest has been identified in an ongoing investigation that prompted the DeKalb County Sheriff’s office to warn residents against purported repair scams, officials said Monday.

DeKalb County Chief Deputy Jim Burgh said two incidents spurred the office to release recent statements on social media warning residents to be cautious of door-to-door solicitors seeking contracts for repair services.

In one alleged instance, Burgh said, the sheriff’s office received a call about a person who’d showed up on someone’s property offering to paint a grain bin for a set price. When the contractors completed the work they sent an invoice for $9,100, a total significantly higher than what had been quoted, police said.

Burgh said a suspect has been identified.

“We currently have a suspect identified that we are trying to track down that does not live in this area, and we wanted to put this out – it’s kind of late in the year, normally these types of things happen earlier in the year, driveway scams, etcetera – so we wanted to put out a warning,” Burgh said.

The sheriff’s office was notified of a second alleged instance, resembling a similar type of fraud to the first report, where purported contractors sought $6,000 for a painted chimney. In that case, the adult daughter of the victims confronted the individuals and got in contact with the sheriff’s office.

“They generally go to homes of elderly people, so then they feel obligated, they write the check,” Burgh said.

According to the repair scam alert put out by the sheriff’s office, all door-to-door solicitors are required to have a permit issued by the sheriff’s office or local municipality. All legitimate contractors will be able to provide proof of insurance.

Illegitimate contractors often ask for money up front, or will significantly underbid the contract, officials said.

There have been no new reports reminiscent of the first two incident since DeKalb County Sheriff’s office put out the warning on social media channels. Burgh said DeKalb County residents should stay vigilant, however, and reach out if they think they’ve been scammed.

The sheriff’s office can be reached at 815-895-2155.

“If there’s anybody else out there that’s recently had something similar please let us know,” Burgh said. “Or, if they showed up and they have any kind of security cameras that would have a vehicle or license plate number, anything like that, please contact the Sheriff’s office and we’ll see if it’s related to these.”