It is an unfortunate and ugly truth that there are individuals out there who run unscrupulous, false or “scammy” businesses. At Four Seasons Landscaping, the only thing more important than the satisfaction of our patrons is their safety! You hear the horror stories online, or perhaps in the news: A seemingly nice man asking for cash to do work, never seen again once paid up front. An unmarked vehicle whose driver is peddling “emergency repair” services unsolicited.
Scams come in a ton of shapes, forms and styles, but they all mean one thing for you: danger, and possible fiscal loss. We wanted to take the time to address these false claimants, and hopefully equip our Montgomery County patrons with the knowledge needed to stave off scammers!
12 Landscaping Scams Reported So Far
In an article posted just a few days ago, law enforcement for Montgomery County identified a burgeoning number of landscaping scammers. These have come out of the woodwork with the advent of spring, as it is one of the best times to run lawn care and landscaping scams. The article states “Since March 1, there have been 12 of these scams reported to the Police Department…”
Some landscaping scammers have been identified, but not all. Which means Four Seasons and our consumers must remain vigilant and on the lookout for potential risks. How can you protect yourself? The best way is to know how a proper business operates, and to understand how to identify the telltale signs of a scam.
How to Spot a Landscaping Scammer
The real weakness of scams is that they tend to be disorganized, rushed, and messy. Keep an eye out for these common signs of a shyster:
- Unsolicited services. A legitimate business is never door-to-door. If you receive a knock about some looming danger that your home is suddenly in, it’s best to close the door and contact your local law enforcement.
- No certification, licensing or paperwork. A proper business is licensed to do things like roof work, lawn care, or any form of construction (they are required in the state of Maryland). Additionally, they should have appropriate paperwork prepared, and most operate with some form of certification on-hand.
- Lack of logo. Uniforms, marked vans or service vehicles, and business cards are all common to legitimate business. A lack of any or all of these is a sure reason to get suspicious.
- Payment. Absolutely never agree to businesses that require full payment up-front, or ones that accept cash only. Odds are, if you give them everything they want right off the bat, and in cold cash to boot, you’re never going to see them again.
- Pressing tactics. If you are approached by a “businessperson” that says you need a job done “right now”, or that it is an emergency, be wary. Ask for certification, a business card or similar information. And then follow up. Never agree to anything without verifying that you are dealing with an actual business. And even then, a second opinion is very valuable.
Stay Safe in Montgomery County, Maryland
If you suspect an individual of fraudulent behavior, or think someone may be running a scam, contact your local law enforcement right away! Staying safe is the most important thing you can do.