the Lincoln Police Department
Beware of door-to-door handymen preying on seniors
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[October 06, 2012]
The Lincoln Police Department
has taken several complaints from senior citizens over the past
several months regarding lawn care companies and tree trimming
businesses that are not performing the amount of work they are being
paid for. These complaints have involved large amounts of money, and
the scamming companies appear to be targeting seniors.
The general nature of these complaints is that a single person or
several people will knock on a door and ask the citizen if they need
to have any type of lawn work or home repairs done. These
individuals can be "pushy" and seem overwhelming to some people. The
individuals then demand to paid in full before the work is
completed, and if any work is done, the amount of work is not
commensurate with the pay.
The police department would like to
make the citizens of Lincoln and surrounding areas aware of this
scam, which is a crime. The crime being committed is theft of labor
The police department asks the citizens of Lincoln to use caution
when individuals knock on their door wanting to do lawn care or tree
trimming and demanding to be paid for the work before the work is
Here are some simple steps to take and questions to ask when
encountered by an individual or individuals wanting to perform lawn
care, tree trimming or handyman work:
Did you call the
person or business and ask for them to come to your house? If
not, ask them for a business card. Do not let strangers into
If the person
arrived unannounced, then the person falls under the category of
a door-to-door salesperson. Ask for identification or a business
card. If they become pushy or you do not believe they will
leave, call the police.
If you need lawn
care done but are not sure who to hire, reach out to friends or
family for recommendations of reputable lawn care businesses in
the area. Search the yellow pages. Do not hire a business or
individual without doing some homework first.
Ask these individuals for a copy of
their insurance bonding and policy card covering their business.
If they do not have insurance bonding, the Lincoln Police
Department encourages citizens not to hire.
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If you are not
satisfied with the work that was performed, question the
individual or business owner and refuse to pay for the
Never pay for
services before the work is performed.
individuals for references with telephone numbers and addresses
before any work is to be performed, and call those references.
individuals make you feel uncomfortable, ask them to leave your
property. If they keep on insisting, call the police
Do not sign any
type of contract. A contract for private lawn care is not
attention to the individual's equipment. A proud and reputable
business owner keeps his or her equipment in good, clean working
Cpl. Matt Vlahovich has been named as the senior services officer
for the Lincoln Police Department. Vlahovich will investigate
complaints of fraud against seniors. If you have any questions,
contact him at 732-2151.
To find out if any complaints have been filed against a home
repair company or to file a consumer complaint, consumers can call
the Illinois attorney general's Consumer Fraud Hotline in
Springfield at 1-800-243-0618 and 1-877-844-5461 TTY.
More information is available on the attorney general's website
[Text from file received from the
Lincoln Police Department]