Scammers stealing thousands of dollars from Alabama concrete businesses

Alabama concrete businesses target of new scam
Published: Apr. 26, 2023 at 9:50 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 26, 2023 at 10:38 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A new warning tonight about scammers who are stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars of product from local concrete companies and they are using you to do it.

Those with the Alabama Concrete Industries Association (ACIA) say they started hearing about this particular scam several years ago in other states but they never expected it to hit Alabama. It started picking up here 3-4 months ago and local concrete companies are now losing money by the thousands.

The president of ACIA John Sorrell says they know of at least $200,000 in fake charges. That’s $200,000 worth of concrete basically stolen from concrete companies.

“I know of two companies in Birmingham who both run three trucks -- what we call mom and pop companies -- so it’s impacting the big guy just as much as the small guy,” said Sorrell.

He says the latest scam is starting primarily from Facebook ads. It says they are selling concrete for cheap at around $100 per yard.

“Let’s say you were pouring a patio and you needed six yards of concrete,” said Sorrell. “They would send someone to your house to collect money for that six yards at $100 a yard so they’d collect $600. The scammer would then pick up and call a local ready mix company in Birmingham and say, ‘We need six yards delivered to this address’ and when they requested payment from the person on the phone, they would provide them a credit card number.”

That credit card number would be stolen, he adds. So the concrete company accepts the payment, delivers the concrete, and weeks later the credit card owner notices the charge and disputes it.

“At that point in time, the concrete’s been on the ground for 3-4 weeks,” explained Sorrell. “The concrete company really has no ability to go out and get that concrete back. They’re just required to eat this money they’re losing.”

Sorrell wants you to be careful where you purchase concrete from. He recommends reaching out to a licensed general contractor or directly to a local concrete company instead of through social media. He adds that if the price of something on a Facebook ad seems too good to be true, it probably is.

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is now investigating, according to Sorrell.

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