By Police Officer Larry Jacobs

Local police are warning of a high-profile scam that is on the rise: people offering to fix cracked windshields that aren’t really broken to begin with.

Officials estimate that scam offers for windshield repairs are up 500 percent from 2009.

In the scam, con artists approach motorists in parking lots and offer to fix a supposedly damaged windshield without involving an auto insurance company and at a discounted price. The scammers usually convince a car’s owner that a barely visible crack threatens to break the entire windshield. They then replace the windshield, often with inferior-grade products.

The information comes from Clark Howard, a well known Atlanta consumer advocate.

Howard advises against allowing someone to fix your windshield “under the table.” Fixing a small crack in a windshield is not difficult or expensive. You can buy a kit from a local automotive store or contact your insurance company to have a professional do the repairs.

Don’t be fooled into thinking there is something wrong with your windshield when there isn’t. Usually, it’s time to replace your windshield when it has a crack that spiders out and interferes with the driver’s view of the road.

Larry Jacobs is an officer in the crime prevention unit of the Sandy Springs Police Department. He can be reached at Larry.Jacobs@sandyspringsga.org