Residents have been approached in parking lots and on streets by individuals claiming to work for DentPro, a company that fixes dents and paintjobs on automobiles.
The scammers carry the company's name on business cards or on magnetic signs affixed to car doors, police said.
Recent victims were quoted prices for fixing damage to their cars while they shopped. The victims agreed to have the work done then returned to their cars to find a thick paste over the damage, which they were told by the scammers should be left on for a couple of hours, police said.
When the paste was removed, the damage was not repaired, and in some cases it was made worse.
Police announced Monday that actual DentPro employees do not approach customers in parking lots or on the street. They report to a location by appointment only and allow customers to view the completed work before leaving.
Anyone approached by a suspicious person claiming to work for DentPro should call Salinas police at (831) 758-7348.