The Dearborn Police Department warned residents against "gypsy scam artists" in a community message issued Thursday morning.
“Gypsy scam artists” are criminals who con unsuspecting homeowners through confidence games, home improvement scams and door-to-door solicitations, the warning said. They usually target senior citizens who live alone and their activities sometimes involve home invasions, it added.
The scams are difficult to prevent because they’re often carried out by well-organized criminals who move between numerous towns and operate under various aliases, according to Dearborn police.
A typical gypsy scam begins with a few subjects knocking on a homeowner’s door and distracting him or her by faking an illness or posing as a utility worker, according to police. After the homeowner is distracted by the subjects, accomplices will quickly and quietly enter the home to steal valuables or cash. The gypsy hustlers usually leave few traces of their dirty work.
Residents should not let visitors enter the house until they provide suitable identification, the community message said. Homeowners should also check companies’ reputations online and request written estimates for repair work.
Dearborn residents who think they’ve fallen victim to gypsy scam artists should call Dearborn Police at 313-943-2240.