A scam that plagued the area about a year ago has resurfaced, prompting Erath County Sheriff Tommy Bryant to issue a warning to residents.

Bryant said a man, posing as a TxDOT employee, is telling residents that he has a surplus of asphalt and is selling it at a reduced rate.

“We’ve already checked with TxDot and they have assured me that they have no employee out on the streets selling asphalt,” Bryant said. “It’s a scam.”

People who fall for the scam are duped one of two ways. If they pay up front, the scam artist either takes off with their money or does a shoddy job. Senior citizens are especially vulnerable, Bryant said, because they are often bullied into paying a higher price for the asphalt than they were originally quoted.

“These people use intimidation as a scare tactic,” Bryant said. “They quote a certain price per yard up front, but once the job is completed, they raise the price. If the person questions them or refuses to pay, they are often threatened with a lawsuit.”

Bryant said he does not have a description of the man claiming to be from TxDOT, but is urging the public to be aware of anyone claiming to sell asphalt at a reduced rate.

“The main thing I want to remind people of is never pay money up front for a job,” Bryant said. “That’s the worst thing a person can do.”

Anyone with information about this scam should call the sheriff’s department at 254-965-3338.

Sara Vanden Berge covers courts, law enforcement, and business and political issues for the Empire-Tribune. She can be reached at sara.vandenberge@empiretribune.com. Her work number is 968-2379, ext. 240.