Home Tree Services Homeowner narrowly saves trees from removal scam

Homeowner narrowly saves trees from removal scam


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) – A new tree-cutting scam is costing companies and homeowners trying to sell their properties thousands of dollars.

Kaylor McCraken heard the sound of chainsaws when he picked up his phone this week.

“They just said, ‘We don’t know where to begin and how do you want these trees felled because there are 14 and there are very large, mature trees,’” McCraken said. “And I said no, no, no.”

McKcraken said he never requested a tree removal service and didn’t want any trees at his Forest Hills house — which he’s trying to sell — removed.

It turns out someone was targeting the address.

“They’re trying to target vacant houses because the owners won’t know,” he said. “So that they can post themselves as the owner, and the owners won’t be home to stop it and won’t be home to notice it if the tree services do show up.”

The Wilson County Sheriff’s Office said the scheme begins with a scammer calling or emailing a tree service company for a quote on how much it would be to cut down trees. After receiving an estimated amount, they send the company a faulty check for more than needed.

Before the company realizes the checks are null and void, the scammer asks the company to pay back the difference.

“They send you a check for $1,500, and they want you to send $500 back to them,” Adam Barbee with Arbor Sense said. “And then that way, they take $500, and you try to go cash the check, and the check is no good.”

Barbee, who runs his own tree care company in Rockvale, says this has almost happened to him twice. He knows to verify who the homeowner is before making any cuts.

“I touched base with the realtor just to make sure and come to find out, no, the people that I was dealing with was not the people that actually own the house,” Barbee said.

Barbee and McKcraken both walked away with their trees and money, but not all are so lucky.

“Once it’s cut, you can’t go back,” Barbee said.

McCraken wants both people trying to sell their homes and tree service companies to be wary of the new scam. For now, he has put signs near the trees warning people not to cut them down.

“It’s unfortunate because it’s not for a great deal of money that they’re getting the scammer is collecting, but the consequences for the owners of these properties and for the tree services themselves are very dire,” Barbee said.