Man warns Michiana homeowners of new scam after losing $1,000

NOW: Man warns Michiana homeowners of new scam after losing $1,000



A Granger man is sending a warning to other homeowners in Michiana after he was scammed out of $1,000 for home improvement services.

“I don’t want this to happen to other people,” said Tom Foerster, who lost the cash on Wednesday.

It was an experience he says you never hope you go through. Now he’s hoping to help others keep from making the same mistake.

Foerster says a pickup truck pulled into his driveway around 2 p.m. Wednesday. The driver handed him a piece of paper with B + C accompanying a few photos at the top, and details about the so-called business on the bottom.  

“He gave me a paper here saying he could power wash my house and clear coat it for labor of $100 plus $22.95 per gallon of clear coat paint,” said Foerster. And that was a price he says he was willing to pay.

“Being in construction for 45 years I thought it couldn’t take more than 10 gallons to go around the house,” he said.

Foerster agreed on the price, telling the man that he could do the job. Foerster tells ABC 57 that the men seemed honest and hardworking, and he was willing to give them a chance.

Three men total showed up for the job. They started to power wash the house, but Foerster says there was no type of clear coat paint going on, and something smelled of bleach.

“I was getting a little leery of what was going on,” he said.

So once they finished the front of the home, Foerster said they could finish the power washing but to just clear coat the front of the house.

“They started packing all their stuff up, said Foerster. “He came in and said it’s going to be 74 gallons of clear coat.”

That was going to cost Foerster more than $1,000 and Foerster says the man had no proof.

 “I said show me the 74 gallons of paint. Well they couldn’t,” he said.

According to Foerster the men also couldn’t get a manager on the phone and even started to threaten him with a lawsuit. Foerster says he offered $500 for their troubles to de-escalate the situation after about a half hour of arguing.

“They said give us a thousand dollars. I said fine I’ll give you a thousand, get out,” he said. But he says he quickly called to cancel the check.

“In ten minutes, they had already been to my bank, cashed the check and were gone,” said Foerster.

Foerster says this was the first scam like this he has ever experienced. Other neighbors on the block tell ABC 57 that they have never been approached by men like that.

After calling police to his home, Foerster says officers even said the scam was somewhat unique.

“This is the first time this year that they’ve heard anything like this,” he said.

St. Joseph County Police is handling the investigation. The department has confirmed the case, but hasn’t given any other details.

Now Foerster says he’s learned just how phony that piece of paper is.

 “I called both of these numbers and nobody answered them,” he said.

So now he’s warning his neighbors to stay vigilant.

“There are people that even though they seem nice and they’re going to do some work, they’re going to take advantage of you,” he said.

Foerster says do police plan to take this and see if it can go forward as a fraud case. Police have not confirmed that.


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