Hillsborough County
David Gee, Sheriff
Tampa, FL
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    Release Number: 13-036

    • For Immediate Release:
    • Public Information Office of Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office
    • January 22, 2013
    • Contact Person:
    • Public Information Office : piooffice@hcso.tampa.fl.us
    • 813/247-8060

    Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Has A Warning Regarding Gypsy and Travelers Scams

    Every spring, traveling home improvement workers invade our communities preying on homeowners.
    • Tuesday
    • January 1, 2013
    • Time: 12:00 AM
    • Hillsborough County

    Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Has A Warning Regarding Gypsy and Travelers Scams:

    Every spring, the Tampa Bay area has had an increase in “gypsy and traveler” activity. To law enforcement agencies, the word “gypsy” refers to people who travel in small groups across the country perpetrating crimes of theft, burglary and fraud.

    Gypsy scams are incidents that occur in daylight hours, in which a suspect will literally walk right into someone’s home for the purpose of stealing jewelry or money. Very often, the homeowner is either in or near the home. If these individuals are caught, they give excuses as to why they are in the home or on the property. The best way to keep these individuals from victimizing you is to simply keep your doors locked and your garage door closed! Remember every time you are outside your home, you cannot possible see every door that a would-be thief might enter.

    During this same time of year, traveling home improvement workers often called “Travelers or Irish Travelers” invade our communities preying on unsuspecting homeowners, often time the elderly, going door to door offering to pave or seal driveways at a very cheap price.

    The “Travelers” will want payment up from and prefer cash but will often times take a check. The “Travelers” will tell the home owners they have patch left over from a previous job. Most homeowners who hire the traveling workers experience shoddy work with substandard materials. Then the victim can’t locate the worker for a refund or to repair the job. When victims try to stop payment on the check, it’s already been cashed and the name on the check is usually fictitious or belongs to an uninvolved third party.

    Homeowners should be suspicious of anyone who knocks on their doors with an offer that sounds “too good to be true” Homeowners should at least check references and go through the Better Business Bureau to check out the company. Finally never pay in advance; always pay at the conclusion of the job. Remember if the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

  • Sheriff David Gee
    Sheriff David Gee
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