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Scam Central

Forest landowners urged to be wary of timber scams

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September 15, 2011 | 1,173 views | Post a comment

GILMER, Texas -- If the drought doesn’t get you, a scam might.

Texas Forest Service is urging East Texas landowners to watch out for scam artists attempting to swindle them out of their trees.

Authorities generally see an uptick in timber sale scams when the economy struggles. Recent scams involve buyers using drought scare tactics to convince landowners that their trees are dying and then push them into selling the timber prematurely. The buyer harvests the timber, but never pays the seller.

While many trees have gone dormant because of the drought, state tree experts say it’s too soon to tell how many will die and how many could make a comeback next spring.

If you do opt to sell your timber now, Texas Forest Service has developed a list of tips to help you do so safely.

•Hire a consulting forester who can help you manage the sale.
•Determine the volume and value of timber being sold -- before the sale.
•Bid your timber to multiple buyers, and check credentials when bids are received.
•Make sure you get a timber bill of sale, which is required by state law whenever timber is sold. The bill of sale assures the buyer that the timber does indeed belong to the seller. It also ensures payment to the seller.
•Determine ahead of time how payment will be made and what type of equipment will be used. Find out how long the contract is valid, if it requires the logger to use best management practices and if there are penalties for property damage. You should also know if the buyer carries worker’s comp insurance.

For a list of consulting foresters, view the Texas Forest Service Professional Management Service Referral List, or contact your local Texas Forest Service office.

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