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Police ask residents to look out for yard, home maintenance scams

As residents begin spring yard work and maintenance, Howard County police are asking the community to be aware of potential solicitation scams, including home improvement and tree trimming.

In an effort to prevent possible scams, police said residents should look out for any unsolicited door-to-door offers, especially when payment is required up front. While scammers may set specific prices and ask for immediate payment, police said they will often not follow through with services. Scammers will then return and ask for additional compensation, police said, failing to provide any sort of contract.

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Residents must also watch for anyone who begins yard or home improvement work without their consent. Although some reputable companies do provide door-to-door services, police said all must have a Howard County peddler and solicitor card, which residents should ask to see, along with company identification.

The Police Department and Howard County Office of Consumer Affairs have provided the following list of tips for residents:

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• Be wary of unsolicited offers or services you didn't seek out.

• Verify contractor or tree services licenses with the Maryland Home Improvement Commission or the Maryland Department of Natural Resources before making any agreement.

• Don't feel pressured to make a decision on the spot. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Residents are also reminded to never let anyone they don't know inside their home.

To report a suspicious person or vehicle in your neighborhood or if you believe you may have been the victim of a scam, contact police at 410-313-2200. If a crime is in progress, contact 911.

For more information on current scams, got to www.howardcountymd.gov/consumer.

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