Don’t Fall for Tree Trimming Scams

topped trees

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

Unfortunately for some residents in parts of our county, “woodchucks” are active and scamming our community.

They are targeting our elderly.

They are ruining our trees.

Don’t fall for these scams.

 

How the Scam Works

Those who are scarring our trees and scamming our community, known as “woodchucks,” enter neighborhoods and look for signs of vulnerability:

  • Unkempt yards
  • Handicap-accessible tags or ramps
  • Elderly people doing yard work

Woodchucks then propose to do yard work, often for marked up prices and often without the proper skills and techniques of an arborist. Some woodchucks never return to do the work. There’s one example of a case with 10 co-defendants that took almost $400,000 from one victim over six years.

“I firmly believe that woodchucks are one of the most pervasive criminal problems this county is facing right now. They’re coming in every day, multiple groups, all seasons — and looking to “get granny.””Detective Ryan Young

 

About Tree Topping

Often times, the woodchucks “top” trees, meaning trees are cut improperly, which leads to many long-term issues, unsightly limbs and potential decrease in property values:

 

Stopping the Scam

There are a number of ways to stop this scam:

  1. Check in with your older and more vulnerable neighbors; keep an eye open for suspicious work.
  2. If you suspect a woodchuck scam, call police at 703-691-2131, TTY 711.
  3. Hire a certified arborist. Tips include asking for proof of insurance and then call the insurance company if you are not satisfied.
  4. Peddlers and solicitors need a license from us. A peddler or solicitor must show the license upon request and must leave the premises immediately if asked to leave. This is an example of what our licenses look like:
    solicitor's license

 

 

 

 

 

 

Listen to More About Tree Trimming

One of our staff experts recently sat down for an interview on our “County Conversation” podcast to discuss tree trimming. Listen:

 


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