Beware of the Pesticides Scam!

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Beware of the Pesticides Scam!

Scammers are offering pesticides at great prices–BEWARE!

Phone and email scams happen every year, and every year people get cheated out of a few hundred dollars or worse. And unfortunately, the items being sold range from everything from insurance, medicines, vacations, to even pesticides. We all need to be wary when responding to these offers.

The Pesticides Scam

Recently a situation was brought to the attention of the Department of Agriculture. A farmer first called Penn State Extension who then relayed the information to a PDA Regional Office. This farmer received a call from a gentleman named “Matt,” who was trying to sell him a herbicide called “Trilene” for his farm. The farmer’s number is unlisted and the salesman was not forthcoming and very pushy throughout the call. The salesman made claims that the product would control broadleaf weeds in his fields for three years.

The salesman (Matt) wanted the farmer’s credit card number and grew impatient when the farmer told him that he wanted to check with his son before purchasing anything. Matt did provide the farmer with a phone number to call back, but a reverse phone look-up did not disclose the owner of the number. If the Extension office would try to call, they come up on the Caller ID as “Government Entity” so no one would probably answer. Other farmers may be facing a similar scam in our area.

Tips to Keep in Mind

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture recommends you only deal with companies and dealers that you know and trust. It is NEVER a good idea to provide any personal information or credit card information to any unsolicited phone or email requests.

  • Out-of-state and off shore companies are hard to track down for returns or refunds.
  • Even if you receive the pesticide or other product,  it rarely meets the advertised claims.
  • The active ingredient in these products can generally be purchased locally for a lot less.
  • Remember, if it is too good to be true, it probably is.

If you find the sales pitch hard to resist–Do your homework–ask for a phone number to return their call, get the address of company, the product name, active ingredients, and EPA registration number of the product. Also, ask for product warranty information and a written offer with an address to mail in the payment. Then check out the company and the product you are considering by checking with Penn State Extension, neighbors, and local dealers. You can also look up the pesticides that are currently registered for use in Pennsylvania. Go to, select Pennsylvania, and then use the search criteria to ensure that the product in question is actually registered for sale in Pennsylvania.

Finally, just be careful! Scammers will sometimes pose as working for legitimate companies–when reviewing websites, look for inaccurate information as not all companies with the same name are the same. And only order when you are sure it is a good deal. And again, if it is too good to be true, it probably is!

Until next time,
Be Safe!

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