11424000704_93143f552b_b(QCOSTARICA) Local police forces were warned this week to be on the lookout for anti-social elements taking advantage of citizens with the newly popular “garden service” scam. More and more cases have been reported recently, not only in San Jose, but also in Cartago, Jaco, and even the Southern Zone.

The criminals operate two ways, and it appears to be more than one single group, possibly different groups in all the areas. Although in some cases victim’s description of the truck and the “gardeners” match.

The first method is used on smaller homes that may not be such good pickings for a burglary. The scamsters offer to perform gardening work, or to plant ornamentals. Once the work is done they charge exorbitant amounts. When the owner complains, they refuse to leave and act in a threatening manner until the ransom is paid.

The second method is used in larger properties, often they speak only to the staff and pretend that the owner of the property sent them. Once inside they harvest information about the property’s layout and valuables that may be inside.

Police spokespersons recommended that property owners be on the lookout. It isn’t good to hire an unknown gardening service that just pulls up to the house, the property owner should scout out legitimate services themselves. It also common sense and safer to make sure that all parties agree on the work to be performed and the total price for the work, in addition to a specific time frame for completion of the work.

Article by iNews.co.cr