Critter Corner: Beware of Woodchucks

Dear Angel,
The other day a man from a “tree company” came to my door, and pressured me to cut down branches that he said would damage my house in the next big storm. He asked me for payment upfront. When my wife came home, she said it looked as if nothing had been done, and that I was conned. I would hate for anyone else to get scammed like this. For the future, what should we look out for from solicitors to determine if they are legitimate or not? Also, who can we report these things to?
Saul Issitores
Dear Saul,
According to Fairfax County Police Department, there have been reports of scams that range from phone calls claiming they are from the IRS, a computer company, or a power company to solicitors demanding money for seniors at their doors. They threaten to arrest you, fix something for a fee when it’s not really broken, or shut down utilities if you don’t pay up.
A common type of fraud (which you described) is known as “Woodchucks.” These are criminals who go door-to-door looking for residents to manipulate or con out of money for very little, or no, services rendered. They particularly target seniors in neighborhoods that seem affluent and heavily lined with trees. The Fairfax county police department urges everyone to be aware of these types of crimes and protect yourself from becoming a victim. 
Here are some helpful safety tips:

Ask to see a contractor’s license if someone is at your door selling a service. They are required by law to present it.

If someone is at your door that you don’t recognize and offering a service that you didn’t request, do not answer the door.

If your phone rings and the person on the other end is asking for personal information and/or money, do not give out any information.
Need more tips to be safe? Follow this link: 
The Fairfax  them by visiting or by texting “TIP187” plus your message to CRIMES(274637)** or by calling 1-866-411-TIPS(8477), or call Fairfax County Police at 703-691-2131.
Reports can also be made online through Financial Crimes Information and Reporting System: 
Hope this is helpful!
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About Renee Eder

Renee Eder is the Director of Public Relations for the Farr Law Firm, and gives the voice to the Critters of Critter Corner. Renee’s poodle, Penny, is an official comfort dog who she and her children bring to visit with seniors who are in the early stages of dementia at a local senior home once a month.

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