10 May 2024

Police warn of gardening and arborist scam targeting Canberrans

| Claire Fenwicke
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EvoEnergy crews repairing powerline

The scammers, in some instances, have been pretending they were sent by EvoEnergy or the ACT Government to trim trees or other vegetation. Photo: EvoEnergy / Facebook.

Groups of scammers posing as gardeners or arborists have been turning up at Canberrans’ homes, carrying out work that hasn’t been requested or authorised, and then demanding payment.

ACT Policing has received reports about groups of workers (generally of Pacific Islander appearance) trimming trees or other vegetation on properties and then seeking to be paid.

In some cases, they speak with the resident first, pretending they have been sent by Evo Energy or the ACT Government.

In one instance, the group re-targeted an elderly woman over several days, taking her to the bank daily so she could withdraw more money to pay them.

The group may be driving a black utility with a silver tray and have been targeting people across Canberra.

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ACT Policing is investigating this group and has called on the community to be vigilant.

“People are also asked to reach out to elderly or vulnerable neighbours, friends and family members, especially if they live alone, and make them aware of the scam,” an ACT Policing statement read.

“Scammers will often re-target victims knowing they can get more money out of them.”

If you are unexpectedly approached by people who can provide no identification, are aggressive or demanding, and you feel unsafe, don’t provide any personal details and instead contact police on 131 444. Call Triple Zero (000) in an emergency.

If you have been defrauded by this group, you can also call 131 444.

More information about scams can be found through ScamWatch or by calling 1300 795 995. Evo Energy has a list of accredited arborists on its website.

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HiddenDragon7:32 pm 10 May 24

Islander arborists have worked for neighbours in my street a few times including, I think, repeat work for one neighbour – so their work and prices are presumably satisfactory.

On each occasion (all of which have been weekend days) I have seen them in the street I have been asked whether I had any work for them and they have been fairly persistent at times, but have always ultimately taken “no” for an answer and work was not started (for me, or anyone else I am aware of in the street) without permission.

Capital Retro3:22 pm 10 May 24

“………..instead contact police on 131 444”

You have to be joking!

I had a family group (“of Pacific Islander appearance”) trim one of my overhanging trees. The high branches were cut and lowered carefully, not a twig fell on the neighbouring property and fallen leaves were swept up and removed. All at a fair and reasonable cost without any request for extra payment. They were friendly and jovial. Beware of Canberra based arborists trying to protect their own lucrative over charging business by making regular complaints about people “of Pacific Islander appearance”.

Heywood Smith2:28 pm 10 May 24

Even those who insists on taking their elderly client to the ATM to watch them withdraw extra money? Thats amazing service, dont you think? Surely youre taking the p****.

Heywood Smith12:13 pm 10 May 24

Those who not only scam, but scam our elderly, are truly the scum of the earth!

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