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Spring time means fresh batch of scams

Published: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 2:30 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 4:10 p.m. CDT

PRINCETON — Though the snow on the ground may seem to dispute it, spring is officially less than two weeks away.

On Tuesday, Bureau County Sheriff John Thompson said the start of spring often brings with it a fresh batch of scams for which to watch, including various home improvement, paving and landscaping projects. Scams can become more prevalent in the spring because people are getting out more and looking to do work around their properties, he said.

However, Bureau County residents need to make sure they know what they are doing when considering hiring some work done and to not trust people they don’t know, Thompson said. Residents should ask for references from the potential worker and check out those references. Also, residents should not let the person talk them into a project they don’t want done. When dealing with anyone they can’t trust, residents should just close door or hang up the phone, the sheriff said.

Unfortunately, scams are nothing new; they just seem be reinvented periodically, Thompson said.

In recent weeks, the Whiteside County Sheriff’s Office issued a warning to area businesses to be aware of a potential scam in which a caller claims to have been retained by the county to conduct services on the county’s behalf.

Neither the Whiteside County Sheriff’s Department or other county offices handle county business through an outside agency, Whiteside County Sheriff Kelly Wilhelm said in a news release.

On Tuesday, Thompson said he has not heard of the Whiteside County scam being attempted in Bureau County. Local businesses and residents need to know the sheriff’s department does not handle its county business through telephone calls.

Also, the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association never solicits by telephone, Thompson said. Instead, the association conducts a direct mail campaign for memberships. That statewide membership mailing is endorsed by him and other Illinois sheriffs, he said.

If any Bureau County resident has a question about a possible scam of any type, whether through the phone, mail or in-person, the resident is encouraged to contact the sheriff’s department, Thompson said.

Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.

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