The holidays are over, winter is winding down and spring is almost here. Many of us are very busy and active in our lawns, gardens, and flowerbeds preparing for spring. Unfortunately, lawn scammers are also out in force, trying to dupe Villagers both online and in their own yards. Ranging from fake and unqualified contractors to websites offering exotic but fake plants and seeds, they’re still busy trying to get their hands on your money. Some of the Lawn Scams you need to watch out for include: TREE SURGEONS THAT ARE UNLICENSED, UNBONDED AND UNINSURED.  Often going from door-to-door to offer their services, doorstep solicitors often claim they’ve spotted a dangerous tree in your yard and offer to put it right for you. Tree trimming is a skilled job. If it’s not done properly, a tree could die or collapse. And if the contractor is not insured and causes damage or injury, it could be costly for you. Ignore these doorknockers! Seek recommendations from friends and family, always get at least two bids, check reputations online — then check out their credentials. Beware of very low bids — you’ll likely get what you pay for — as well as outrageous overcharging, particularly targeted at older folk. THE LAWN DOCTOR AT YOUR DOOR. Again, this involves doorknockers who say they noticed that your lawn needs special attention — and whose lawn doesn’t? — And they just happen to have a load of fertilizer and seed on their trailer. They’ll often tell you that if you don’t take action soon things are going to go from bad to worse — but they’re here to save you.  Usually, they don’t quote a price upfront or, if they do, they later claim they needed to use more than they planned. Beat this scam by politely turning down these con artists. If you think your lawn needs treatment, contact a reputable specialist. CATALOGS. You’re a rare person if a colorful plant and seed catalog has never shown up in your mailbox. You leaf through the pages, taken in by dramatic images promising fruit, shrubs, and blooms better than anything you’ve ever seen before. Sometimes, catalogs come from highly-reputable suppliers with well-known, trustworthy names. But others, sometimes equally big, are less reputable. Photos are artificially doctored to make plants look incredible and trees bursting with fruit. But when your shrub arrives, all you get is a stick with a few roots. Avoid this scam by, again, checking reputations online, looking for obviously “Photoshopped” images and being wary of what seem to be outstanding bargain prices. Or visit your local garden center. FLORISTS. With celebrations in mind (birthdays, anniversaries, Mothers Day, etc.), be on your guard for fake online florists. Low prices and free offers (like vases) are red flags. Use local florists or well-known national names instead. Landscaping and lawn maintenance are “big business” in The Villages. You need to be very diligent and very careful when dealing with vendors to ensure that you are not scammed, cheated or overcharged. Remember, no one will watch out for your interests better that you! If you need assistance with understanding any aspects of landscape or lawn care scams, contact the nearest Seniors Vs. Crime office in The Villages for advice or assistance. There is never a charge for their services. Seniors Vs. Crime can be reached at:

  • The Fruitland Park Police Department Annex in the Moyer Recreation Center in The Villages – (352) 674-1882
  • The Marion County Sheriff’s Office in The Villages – (352) 753-7775
  • The Sumter County Sheriff’s Office in The Villages – (352) 689-4600, Extension 4606
  • The Wildwood Police Department Annex at Brownwood in The Villages – (352) 753-0727
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