Published: Apr 26, 2010 11:26 PM EDT

EAST NAPLES, Fla. -- The down economy has a lot of people looking for work. But before you hire an unknown handyman, beware. Someone you think you are helping could be looking to take your money and run.

One condo complex in East Naples is left reeling after a man and his sons allegedly solicited odd jobs from its residents, then left without completing or even starting the projects.

"I'm 87 years old and I've never been ripped off before in my whole life, but I guess I can't die without it," Annabelle Pollard tells WINK News. In December 2009, Pollard says she hired a man to clean up her lanai.

"I thought well, the way the economy is, maybe he's down and out."

But after paying the man $120, Pollard says she got left with a shoddy paint job and a patio set still in need of a touch-up. Her neighbor, Robert Lockwood, says the same man visited him in December as well.

"We let him in and he came in and got out his box cutter and cut the whole screen out so at that point, we were without a screen and he had a job to do," Lockwood tells WINK.

Like his neighbor Annabelle, Lockwood also paid before the project was completed.

"We got him down to $180."

Lockwood tells WINK the handyman never finished his project, either. He tells us that the man "did as much as he could... and then they left and they said they had to get more supplies from the truck and that was the last I saw of them"

All Lockwood would like is for the handymen to finish what they started.

"I'd be delighted for the guy to come down and replace this screen in fact, I'd pay him another 20-dollars for his travel... once its finished."

Meanwhile, his neighbor, Annabelle Pollard, says she does not want to see the handymen around her condo ever again.

"I feel like i've been used. I don't think it's fair."

And from now on, she says she'll be more careful about who she hires.

"I'll never hire anybody without that license, no."

At least one other neighbor in that condo complex says he paid the same handyman for work back in October of 2009 and the same handyman never finished. He tells WINK that he's out $275.

There is an easy way to avoid this from happening to you. Make sure you hire a licensed and bonded contractor. To check to see if someone is licensed in the state of Florida, click on this link:

https://www.myfloridalicense.com/wl11.asp?mode=0&SID

=