Beware Of The Curb Painting Scam Sweeping The Nation
Joshua Patton 9/8/2017
In cities across the United States, homeowners have been targeted by a simple con-job where scammers can turn a few dollars' worth of paint into a relatively big score. It usually goes down like this.
The scammers will either go door-to-door in residential neighborhoods, either speaking to homeowners in-person or leaving a note. They cite a new city ordinance requiring house numbers painted on the curb, and then offer to do the job for money.
After they do a quick stencil job, they then ask the homeowners for money, calling it a "donation." They usually ask for around $15 to $20, but will often take whatever they can get.
In some cases they paint the numbers on the curb first, since if the "work" is done their mark is more likely to pay up. If anyone argues with them about it, they say that the house numbers on the curb are there to help police, firefighters, and emergency services find houses. But that's simply not true.
As a city spokesperson in Des Moines, Iowa, told KCRG News when the scam was in their area:
"The numbers could be blocked by a parked vehicle or snow in the winter; under these circumstances, the painted address would not be an effective means in which emergency responders could find a location in the City."
According to police, this scam happens all across the country. In recent years there have been reports of this scam taking place in California, Kentucky, Ohio and many other states.
Sometimes, however, there are variations on the scheme. In 2015 a group of residents in New Jersey reported a man collecting money using the story behind the curb painting scam, but he didn't actually paint the numbers on the curbs!
After being reported to police, the man hurriedly returned and did the painting, according to the Manalapan Patch, but it didn't get him out of trouble. Diving deep into the news archives though, the King Con Man behind this scheme was Michael Loren Carson of Palm Beach, California.
He was arrested for the scam in 2006, according to The Orange County Register. He also charged $15 and asked his marks to make a check out to "CAS," which he said stood for "Curb Address Service."
The man would then add the letter "H" to the end of that acronym, spelling out "cash." Still, this is a remarkably easy con to pull of, so be mindful.
If anyone tries this at your home, you should immediately ask to call the local city hall or the police before turning over any money. Be wary of the dangers lurking when it comes to something as simple as your curb.