Austin police warning about lawn care scam targeting senior citizens

The Austin-American Statesman is warning elderly residents about a lawn care scam. Here are the details, taken directly from statesman.com:

The Austin Police Department is seeking the public’s help in locating elderly scam victims.

A company has approached elderly individuals at their homes to offer tree trimming or other lawn care services and returned multiple times for payment while doing minimal work. Police estimate that victims are being charged three to five times the average rate for such work.

Victim are asked to call 311 or 974-5750 to make a report.

Anyone with information about such scams should call detectives at 974-5779.

- James Rincon, American-Statesman staff

If you find yourself in need of a tree trimming service, BBB advises:

  • Beware of door-to-door solicitations. Most companies have business cards, uniforms, truck signs, etc, and the reputable ones are generally too occupied to solicit work in this manner. Never feel pressured to give anyone your business just because they are standing at your doorstep.
  • Ask for an inspection and get a written estimate. Find out exactly how much the service will cost and make sure the amount quoted includes all labor, clean-up and disposal charges. Services that quote a price without a visual inspection cannot be sure of the scope of the work involved.
  • Hire someone who is bonded, licensed and insured. Tree trimming and removal can be very dangerous. Look for a Certified Arborist, someone who has passed the International Society of Arboriculture’s extensive Certification Exam covering all aspects of tree care. In some states tree service companies must register with the state, but that is no guarantee of quality.

-Amy

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