COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - A elderly Colorado Springs woman thought she hired a contractor to build her a new deck. But as soon as the check was cashed, he walked off the job, leaving her thousands of dollars in the hole.
Today, nearly two months later, a group of good Samaritans is digging her out.
"We have a nice little surprise for you," said Garth Hystad, Mosaic Outdoor Living.
"Oh, oh my god. It's beautiful," said Ruth Baer.
Tears of joy rushed down Baer's face as she was surprised with a new deck and furniture.
"I don't know what to say, I'm speechless," said Baer.
Baer hired a contractor to do the job in June. He built a frame and stopped, claiming he needed more money to buy supplies.
"He wrote out a promise note that he would pay back that second check in five days. Well that five days came and went," said Baer.
Baer was scammed out of $6,000. Police later arrested Jose Colon. Noah's Restoration heard about Baer's story and teamed up with Mosiac Outdoor Living and The Home Depot to finish what the scammer didn't - for free.
"We really were so happy to come and do this for Ruth and do it the right way. She doesn't have to worry about her deck, just worry about enjoying her life," said Hystad.
A lesson she says she won't forget.
"Thank you so much, how could I ever thank all of you," said Baer.
Tips to avoid being scammed:
-Check to make sure the business is licensed with the state of Colorado and also check with Pikes Peak Regional building to make sure the contractor has applied for a valid permit.
-Check the contractor out online. Many companies have a web site you can visit. When you get a copy of the work contract, make sure it has a start and finish date on it.
-Never give more than 50 percent of money needed for the job up front. Be skeptical of anyone who asks for more cash.