BBB Consumer Alert: Tree Trimming Scam Targets Seniors
Tree trimming scam targets seniors in Omaha, Lincoln and Beatrice, Nebraska. The scammers are deciving and intimidating their victims.
"These scammers prey on the elderly, since many have hearing or memory problems, stated Jim Hegarty, BBB president and CEO. "They give an estimated price for the work, but after completion, the price is much higher than the original quote and the workers refuse to leave without a check."
In Omaha, a woman was told that it would cost $300 to trim her trees. She hired the men, and upon completion of the work, the "tree trimmers" demanded $3000 and would not leave until they were paid $1,200.
The BBB advises that if you are home during the day, you are more likely to encounter people who wish to sell you things at your door. While some door-to-door workers are legtimate, many are not. Scammers are usually friendly and are successful becuase they appear so trustworthy.
The following tips will help protect you against fraudulent door-to-door salespersons:
- Always ask to see the person's credentials and call the company they are representing for verification. Be wary of workers from out of state. This makes it more difficult to contact them should there be a problem.
- Be suspicious if you are greeted by name, approached while you are outside your home or cash is demanded as payment for their product or service.
- Be cautious of those who will not put their estimate in writing. Do not take verbal quotes.
- Be cautious of workers who are using vehicles without any company markings on them. Legitimate companies are proud of their names and usually display them on their vehicles.
- Be sure to get at least 3 quotes for the work to be done and don't automatically choose the lowest bid.
- Be sure to check the company out with the BBB.