Officials warn about phone scam

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— Routt County officials are warning residents to be wary of calls in which telemarketers sell pesticides.

CJ Mucklow, Routt County's director of Colorado University Cooperative Extension, said that about this time of year area, residents usually are solicited to purchase pesticides by phone.

"We really encourage people not to buy pesticides over the phone," Mucklow said, because the product and corresponding price often are not legitimate.

The phone solicitors often are selling products of a lower quality and higher price than the products that are sold in local stores, Mucklow said. They are also usually not registered with the Colorado Department of Agriculture, even though they are supposed to be.

Mucklow said the callers often pretend they are calling people back as though the resident had contacted them.

"They're really good," Muck--low said. He said people should "not be taken by it."

If you are considering purchasing a pesticide by phone, you should ask the solicitor to send a label for the product, Mucklow said.

To see if a pesticide is registered with the state of Colorado, visit the Department of Agriculture.

"If they have a great product, they'll gladly send you a label," he said. "If they will not send you a label, it's not a legitimate deal."

Looking at a label -- especially the concentration of the active ingredient -- is the best way to measure the quality of a pesticide, Mucklow said.

"Compare it to other known labels and known products around the market and what they cost," he said.

If you think you have been the victim of a scam, you may report the incident to the extension office or the agriculture department.

But don't expect great results from an investigation, Mucklow said. "It's a very difficult case to prosecute because we don't know where they're from," he said.

--o reach Dana Strongin, call 871-4229 or e-mail dstrongin@steamboatpilot.com

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