Children involved in local cleaning scam that charged businesses more than $2,500 to tidy parking lots |

Children involved in local cleaning scam that charged businesses more than $2,500 to tidy parking lots

Law enforcement later determined it was a civil disagreement, not a scam

Editor’s note: The Routt County Sheriff’s Office later determined this incident was not a scam, but a civil disagreement. The business in question initially refused to pay the children for their labor, but later wrote them a check for $2,510.

STEAMBOAT PILOT — A local business fell prey to an attempted scam Wednesday involving a group of young children and a man who claims to be the father of one of the children.

Steamboat Springs Police Department officers received a civil complaint Wednesday afternoon from a business in the 1500 block of 13th Street that was charged more than $2,500 after the children picked up trash in the parking lot. 

The children appeared to be around 10 years old and not associated with any particular club or organization, according to police.

Employees at the business refused to pay what the man demanded, so no criminal charges have been filed.

According to a Facebook post from the Routt County Sheriff’s Office, the man involved in the scam contacted other businesses offering similar cleaning services but did not disclose the exorbitant costs upfront.

Commander Annette Dopplick said the Police Department has received one complaint so far in connection to the skim. She added that such incidents, which she called “home improvement scams,” are common this time of year when residents and business owners are tidying up and renovating after the winter season.

In Steamboat, the most common of these scams involve people offering to repair people’s driveways or replace the windows in their homes, according to Dopplick.

Locals can take a few simple steps to recognize these kind of scams. 

“If you’re going to have work done for any kind of monetary compensation, that’s something you want to have in writing,” Dopplick said.  

Making arrangements in advance about the costs of any work will help to avoid disagreements or surprises after the project is done. 

People can also pick out some telltale signs that they are dealing with scammers. These individuals often pressure potential customers into accepting the service immediately and ask for money upfront. 

“Don’t be so eager for a good deal because these are often scams,” Dopplick said. “If it feels like it’s wrong, it usually is.”

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