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'Tree trimming' scam branching out into Tampa Bay area

National Christmas Tree Shortage Leads To Higher Prices And Less Inventory
Posted at 3:43 PM, Jul 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-10 15:45:45-04

HERNANDO COUNTY, Fla. -- Deputies are warning of a new scam that appears to have branched out into the Tampa Bay area.

Over the last couple of weeks, several residents in our area claimed they were scammed by individuals posing as tree trimmers, the Hernando County Sheriff's Office said.

"These individuals go into an area under the guise of operating a legitimate tree-trimming service," the Hernando County Sheriff's Office said in a release.

Deputies said some of these scammers have posed as working for a power company, while others said they were hired to trim a neighbor's trees.

One individual will distract a resident by asking to go to the resident or homeowner's backyard to discuss which trees are going to be trimmed. While the resident is distracted in the backyard, the other scammer will enter the home and steal any valuables inside.

Both scammers will quickly leave the residence before the resident realized they have been robbed, deputies explained in the release.

While none of the incidents have been reported in Hernando County, deputies are encouraging homeowners to ask any tree trimmers to show their credentials to see if they are legitimate tree trimmers. Legitimate tree trimmers should not have any problems accommodating this request, the Hernando County Sheriff's Office said.

Deputies also encourage homeowners and residents to lock their doors and windows whenever they leave their homes.