Beware of Pine Straw Scammers

The Carteret County Sheriff’s Office has received and is investigating numerous reports of individuals approaching residents seeking employment to put out pine straw, which ultimately turns into a scam. This is a well-known scam operation out of the Georgia area, and this is not the first time we have encountered such individuals conducting such scams on residents of Carteret County.

How the scam works: The property owner agrees to have the individuals put out a certain number of baled pine straw on their property. After or near completion, the scammer(s) will advise the project required more bales than expected (at times, 10 times more) and advise the property owner they owe thousands of dollars for the work. When confronted about this, scammer(s) have become hostile towards the property owner(s). Often times the scammer will try and show the property owner a number of bale strings (strings used to hold the straw in the bale form), trying to convince the owner the work was legitimate.

Tips from CCSO: Always use reputable individuals/contractors to do work for you. When able, obtained written contracts for the work, which includes the scope of work and price. If you ever feel you are being scammed please contact your local law enforcement agency immediately, before paying for the services. A reputable contractor or individual will have no issue waiting for a law enforcement officer to come and discuss the matter, but a scammer will. If the situation becomes hostile, go to a safe place, call 911. If able, safely take as many pictures or videos of the scammer(s) and their vehicle(s), however do not delay calling for law enforcement to video or photograph.

You can reach any local law enforcement agency in Carteret County 24 hours a day by calling 252-726-1911 or if in an emergency situation, by calling 911. Always remember, if it sounds to good to be true, it most likely is.