Woman wonders if plumber is tapping a scam


Dear Amy: I think I was scammed! As a divorced 62-year-old woman on a fixed income, I recently hired someone to fix plumbing damage to my house that insurance wouldn’t cover. His bid was substantially lower, and he could start the next day. He asked for half down so I sent him 50 percent ($300) through an online payment system.

Well, the next day he never showed up. After I called and texted him several times, five days later, he texted me that his mother had suffered seven strokes and was in the hospital, so he wasn’t working all week.

Another week has gone by, and I texted him to see how his mother was doing and if he was going to be able to get the job done.

I haven’t heard back from him and I’m suspicious that I never will.

I feel like an idiot for not getting a contract to see if he was licensed, bonded and insured.

Should I continue to contact him?

I have his name and number and want to warn people in my neighborhood on the social media app NextDoor.com.

Maybe that would be a bad idea in case he sees and comes after me? Groan.

Any suggestions on how to get my money back, or should I write this off as a loss?

— Feeling Duped!

Dear Duped: One red flag I see is that the worker only responded to your contact after it was obvious that you weren’t going away. (And “seven strokes” is almost too specific.)


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