Defenders Blog: Protecting yourself and your family from common scams

Ways you may be getting ripped off, and what you can do to stop it

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SAN ANTONIO - I get a lot of emails and calls in the Defenders Department here at KSAT 12, and among those that really catch my eye are ripoffs and scams targeting the elderly.

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You know what I mean.  You can see your own Mom or Dad or Grandparents being the victim.  It seems to take a particularly low level of scumbaggery to go after an older person who has a limited income and may be struggling just to pay the electric bills or put food on the table.

One of the most common scams seems to be the traveling home repair guys.  Asphalt, roofers, and tree trimmers are among them.  Beware.  And warn your older loved ones they need to beware, too. 

Let’s take a look at tree trimmers, since we are airing a story this evening on a local tree trimmer who got caught scamming an elderly woman.

The city of San Antonio points out a few things homeowners need to know when hiring a tree trimmer.  First, they should be licensed with the city.  Ask to see the license.

Next, ask about their insurance.  This is important, because if the guy on the ladder takes a tumble, the homeowner could be sued.  According the city’s website on hiring tree trimmers, you should ask whether they have a general liability policy.  This will protect your assets in case of an accident.  Make sure you see their policy yourself - don’t just take their word that they have such a policy.

I want you to check out this link to the city’s website, because it offers some good information about published standards of tree trimming.  Yes, there is a proper way it should be done, and it’s called  the ANSI-A300 standard.   Read more about it here.

Now, you still need to check for references.  Make a few calls.  And when it comes to the price quote, make sure it’s specific, and any variances are spelled out.

Pass this info on to anyone you know who might be considering having some tree trimming done, especially older folks who answer their front door, and might get taken in by a smooth scam artist.

Do you have a story the Defenders should investigate? Give us a call at 210-351-1212 or email us at Defenders@ksat.com


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