Emergency

Billings police are warning residents of a new scam in several Montana cities involving lawn care companies asking for advance payments and never delivering services.

The con has not been reported in Billings but local law enforcement agencies are trying to inform people before it reaches the city, said a news release from Lt. Neil Lawrence of Billings Police Department.

The scam begins with flyers circulated around town advertising lawn care companies. The fake businesses have used the names Western Lawn Care or Western Slopes Lawn Care but could use additional names in the future.

The companies use numbers similar to Google Phone numbers that do not conform to local prefixes. Payment is requested in full for the season and usually totals about $360. Suspects collect the money in person but don’t return to perform the services after they are paid.

The release said the fake companies have managed to collect sums reaching felony levels. Citizens can verify the legitimacy of door-to-door salespeople by requesting to see a copy of their business license, which they are required to carry.

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General assignment reporter for the Billings Gazette.