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Valley contractors give scam victim a new roof

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Valley contractors have come to the aid of an elderly woman who fell victim to a roofing scam.

Mary Hartnett, of Phoenix, did her due diligence and everything checked out, but she still got scammed because the con man was pretending to be somebody else. This case is a good example of one extra step consumers should take when checking out a contractor.

Contractors just put the final touches on Hartnett's brand new roof, but the 88-year-old says it's been a long time coming. Three years ago her garage and dining room started leaking. She chose a contractor to replace the roof, but before she paid him, Hartnett did the smart thing and checked him out first.

"I called the Registrar of Contractors to see if he was registered and if he had a license and if he had any complaints," Hartnett said.

The ROC showed the contractor had a valid license and no complaints - so Hartnett paid him $10,000 to do the replacement. A year after the contractor finished the job, the roof started leaking again. Hartnett had a friend take a look.

"He said, 'My gosh, Mary. That's a terrible roofing job.' He could lift the whole roof up on the garage area," Hartnett said.

It turns out the man who did the job was an imposter. Duane Yourko, of the Arizona Roofing Contractors Association, says the con man stole and was using the license number of a legitimate roofer who happened to have the exact same name.

"She was verifying the information, the correct name and number, but the individual performing the work and offering the contract on her house was not that individual," Yourko said.

The roof was in terrible condition and not up to code. Since Hartnett had done her due diligence, several members of the ARCA decided she deserved to get what she paid for. They just put the final touches on Hartnett's new roof at absolutely no cost to her.

"I've thanked them, every one of them, and I sure appreciate it, and it was just a fantastic job they did," Hartnett said.

Checking the name against the license number is great, but to be safe take one more step. The ROC website gives you the contractor's official address and phone number as well. So call the number listed on the ROC site and verify you're dealing with the real contractor.

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