Call for Action Investigation: Scam targets house painters

Published: Aug. 8, 2016 at 3:45 PM MDT
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A new scam has surfaced using information posted on Craigslist. Crooks are now targeting house painters, wasting their time and trying to rip them off.

A home for sale near Woodmen and Black Forest roads is where a Colorado Springs house painter was sent to measure and give an estimate for an exterior paint job.

But Mike Finley became suspicious when he noticed the home didn't look like it needed painting -- and the so-called owner had a sudden excuse for not being there.

After Mike submitted a bid, the man sent Mike a check for $4,000, three times the amount of the deposit. He then told Mike to put the money in the bank, keep the $1,000, and wire the extra $3,000 to a plumber who supposedly was working on the house too.

Mike smelled a rat, called the bank, and learned the check was no good.

“I hate it when people try to rip off hard-working people. We work hard for our money. I don't like thieves," Mike said.

11 News' Betty Sexton has heard from two other painters who got calls similar to Mike's. One of them was sent to a home off of Fillmore to give a bid for painting it.

The common denominator: the houses were listed for sale, some of them on Craigslist. The painters were all sent checks for too much money and instructed to wire the extra cash to a plumber.

“It’s summer. They're always busy, so a week lost is a lot of money for a painter. It's sad for sure," said Kevin Gamble with Steve’s Paint Supply.

Gamble told 11 News that word about the con is starting to spread. No matter what your profession, if you're ever paid too much money by check and asked to immediately wire the rest, It's a scam. Follow your instincts and don't let the lure of big cash burn you.