Blooming Grove woman victim of “traveler” scam

Man offered low price for unsolicited work, then upped bill, report says
A fitchburg man arrested on suspicion of fifth offense OWI and domestic violence

The sheriff’s department said a Blooming Grove woman was the victim of a “traveler scam” Friday.

The Dane County Sheriff’s Office said the woman was approached at her house Friday by a man who identified himself as Joshua McDonald, and who was accompanied by two associates in an unknown white pickup truck.

The department said McDonald told the woman he had asphalt leftover from a construction job and offered to seal her driveway for $350. However, after completing the work, he told the homeowner she owed him $1,700. There was no written estimate or contract provided prior to the work being performed, a report said.

After some discussion, the homeowner paid the man $1,400, the sheriff said.

In a news release, Lt. Gerald Hundt said these types of scams are commonly reported to law enforcement in the spring, summer and fall and are referred to as or “traveler” scams because the perpetrators are generally not from the area.

The scammers usually prey on unsuspecting homeowners, often times the elderly, then leave the area before they are detected by law enforcement, the sheriff’s department said.

Hundt warned property owners to be cautious when approached by an unsolicited contractor and said similar scams include offers to paint with leftover materials from another job.

Scammers typically promise the homeowner a good deal and after the work has been completed, they charge an inflated price, he said. Victims often report feeling intimidated or obligated to pay the bill.