Scam targeting people with storm debris in their yards

Debris cleanup scam

Last week's storm left trees and branches everywhere, and officials are warning that scammers are trying to use that debris to get over on people.

"We're warning everyone to take the time to ask the questions about the company, ask for their paperwork, related to their license, their insurance and the proper documentation to operate a business within the city," said Jeremy Hembree with the Aiken Department of Public Safety.

Law enforcement across the CSRA, along with the BBB, are warning people to beware of scammers. Authorities said some crooks are telling folks if they pay them to move the rubble from their yard, they'll be reimbursed. Others are charging way too much.

"Its always best to search that business yourself, do some research," said Gigi Turner, Regional Director of the Better Business Bureau. "Find a reliable company that you can trust to remove the debris or cut down the tree." 

"There are people going door to door soliciting for work against the law in the city unless you have come and obtained a soliciting license," Hembree said.

Officials said they are not reimbursing people for debris cleanup. Make sure you're checking the licenses of the company you hire. You can also verify them with the Better Business Bureau. Also, be weary of companies from out of state.

"If something happens or if something goes wrong, I need to know that I can contact these people and get my money back, a partial refund, or have them come complete the job, and if they're from another state,  I'm going to have a harder time making that happen," Turner said.

Officials said if you're going to hire someone to clean up or remove debris from your yard, get a few estimates to make sure you're paying a reasonable price for the service.

If you think you've been a victim of a debris removal scam, contact your local police department and report it to the Better Business Bureau.

You can find debris removal information in Columbia County here.

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