BBB issues Irish Travelers Scam warning | News
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- 92-year-old Janice Germain is still trying to come to grips with the fact that she is the victim of a scam.
"I just figured I was there at the right time," said Germain. "Maybe they were just canvassing, I don't know."
On December 4th, Germain heard a knock on her door and that was the start of the scam.
"He started his routine and showed me this and that and it got me thinking," she said.
He offered to fix her driveway. Germain said now she knows she it was all a ruse.
"There was a big rig, a diesel truck and there was about five of them and they had a small boy with them," she said.
Ironically, the day before they knocked on her door, the Better Business Bureau issued an urgent scam alert for the Irish Travelers scam. Homeowners were warned to beware of individuals offering to make unsolicited home repairs.
"Here I am stuck," she said.
Germain said he was supposed to fill the cracks. She said they were there for an hour and sprayed the existing drive with a tar like substance, then sprinkled something on the cracks.
"Magically that stuff is suppose to get in those cracks and become a blacktop," she said.
Germain paid someone named Shane Costello $2,000 to repair her driveway. The check was cashed the same day.
"They had a pretty good act going," she said.
At best, what he gave her was a paint over and he told her he will be back to work on her other driveway.
"That's what he thinks," said Germain.
In public, she finds room for laughter. In private she feels ashamed that she was scammed.
"If I got some reimbursement from them, it would be nice," she said.
Her case has now been reported to the Attorney General's Senior Versus Crime Project. Attempts to reach Shane Costello were unsuccessful and Germain did not have a contract.
How do you spot the scam? These are the warning signs from the BBB:
-An unsolicited knock on the door offering to do some job around the house
-Unmarked vehicles with out-of-state tags
-No business identification or local address
-Upfront for payment or cash only
-No contracts or estimates given
If you experience this, contact your law enforcement agency.