SCAM ALERT: Pine Straw Scam. The Sandy Springs Police Departments wants to remind its residents of a common and very active scam, the pine-straw scam. This is how the scam works:
An unsolicited landscaper comes to your home claiming to have left-over pine straw or mulch from a previous job and offering it to you at a heavily discounted rate. After your agree to the recommended number of bales, the scammer lays down fewer bales than agreed upon and then tells you he will need to lay down or already added an additional number of bales to cover the yard at a cost of thousands of dollars more. If you refuse, the scammer tries to intimidate you with aggressive tactics. Sometimes victims give in to these scare tactics just to get the scammer to leave.
Although everyone can be a victim, elderly residents are the prime target for these criminals. To be safe, say no to door-to-door solicitations and instead contact a reputable company, perhaps one that a friend or neighbor recommends. Other similar types of scams are unsolicited roof installers telling you your roof is damaged and they’ll do it at a discounted rate. Once they claim to be finished, they charge you thousands of dollars. We have also seen unsolicited tree removal scams.
If it sounds too good to be true, it is likely a scam. If you feel threatened or harassed by suspected scammers, please call 911.
Below are some tips you can consider if you find yourself in one of these situations:
• Ask to see the solicitation permit issued by the City of Sandy Springs
--City of Sandy Ordinance 26-217 makes it unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to engage in the business of soliciting without first having obtained a permit.
• Ask to see a business card and make sure you get the name of the business and the employee.
• Ask for the business’ website and check it out.
• Check the Secretary of State’s website to see if the person has a business license.
• Check Better Business Bureau’s website (bbb.org) to see if there are any complaints against the business.
• Before someone starts the work, ask to get the terms in writing, including the scope of the job, quantity of materials and the final price.
• To be safe, say no to door-to-door solicitations and instead contact a reputable company, perhaps one that a friend or neighbor recommends.
If you are being harassed by a door-to-door salesperson, call 911. Or you can avoid all this by not answering the door and telling them to go away. Please share this scam alert, particularly with your elderly loved ones or neighbors.