COLLEGE STATION, Texas -

The Texas Forest Service is urging East Texas landowners to watch out for timber scams.

Law enforcement said that they usually see an increased number of timber sale scams when the economy is struggling.

Recent scams involve buyers telling landowners that their trees are dying and then pushing them to sell their timber early. The buyer harvests the timber but never pays the seller.

State tree experts said it was too early to know how many trees will die because of the drought conditions or how many trees could make a comeback next spring.

If you choose 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, contact yourlocal Texas Forest Service office.