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Beware of scam

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Erin Holohan Haskell
Erin Holohan Haskell Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 2,284
A contractor recently brought this scam to my attention and I wanted to share his story with the HeatingHelp.com community so that you are aware of it.

His partner was contacted via text and email by a woman who needed a boiler and water heater replaced. She said she would give him a $2,000 credit card deposit. She also said that she was hearing impaired and could only communicate with him via text and email. He told her that he could come to her home and give her an estimate. She said that this would not be possible because she was in the process of purchasing the home and that she was also in the hospital receiving treatment for lung cancer. She said she could approve a $10,000 credit card charge if he paid her for the difference in price for the job. The contractor did not fall victim to this scam and alerted police.

Please be cautious out there. Thank you.
President
HeatingHelp.com
bullseyeharrykcopp4Johnpipe
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Comments

  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,541
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    I get emails on a regular basis wanting me to ship boilers to one or another third world country under the same terms
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • Harvey Ramer
    Harvey Ramer Member Posts: 2,239
    edited September 2016
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    I have been getting these text messages for a couple years.

    I've come to accept scammers like that and computer generated crap calls as part of life.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,737
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    They will do this through e-bay or pretty much any other place you can sell products or services, nothing is immune. We have even gotten calls from Microsoft saying our computer has errors. They want to mess with our computer. It's all scams.

    We have a friend that fell victim to it. They sold something on e-bay the person sent them a cashiers check for x amount of money and said just send me Y amount back. They did it, the bank even deposited the check. It wasn't until later that the bank realized the check was a fraud (I saw it, it was totally convincing). They lost the money, bank wouldn't do anything.

    My rule, no one that calls me is legitimate. No business I do business with will call and ask for my full and complete personal information, if they do it's fraud. If in doubt say thank you and call that institution back with a known good number that I have and then speak with them.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Pumpguy
    Pumpguy Member Posts: 658
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    I had a strange one come past me not too long ago.

    Got an email from a guy claiming to be the CEO of a movie studio in Universal City, Ca wanting to buy a vacuum condensate pump.

    After much email discussion about sizing etc. he tells me it doesn't need to function, just look new. He's going to use it for a movie prop.

    While he did provide a street address, online research on his company reveals nothing. Phone calls to nearby locations also reveals nothing, although I was told studio spaces are frequently rented out to independent companies.

    So we agree on a price , over 5 figures, and then he tells me this is for shipment to Nikosea, Cyprus. Pick up is to be by his carrier. and he provides the carrier name and contact info. He says not to worry about export crating, his carrier will take care of that. Online research on his carrier reveals nothing.

    All this correspondence is by email.

    Then he gives me a phone call saying he wants to pay by credit card, in several increments, and gives me all the credit card info.
    He had a heavy foreign accent and insisted I process the credit card "right now".

    This whole business sounded fishier and fishier, so I sent him an email saying I needed payment by cashiers check, 50% to book the order, and 50% on completion, ready for shipment.

    That was the last I heard from him. I am guessing this was an attempt to drain my checking account via credit card charge backs, but in any event, nothing happened except my wasted time.
    Dennis Pataki. Former Service Manager and Heating Pump Product Manager for Nash Engineering Company. Phone: 1-888 853 9963
    Website: www.nashjenningspumps.com

    The first step in solving any problem is TO IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM.
    Roohollah
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,526
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    Pumpguy said:

    I had a strange one come past me not too long ago.

    Got an email from a guy claiming to be the CEO of a movie studio in Universal City, Ca wanting to buy a vacuum condensate pump.

    We got hit with this one a few years ago. The guy calls and wants to order a lot of books. The shipment is to go to Scotland. He has a website and all the addresses check out. He gives us a credit card and tells us to run it. We do and we have the cash. We call the bank and they tell us all is well.

    Then he tells us he's sending the carrier, as you described. But we need to pay the carrier in advance with a Wells Fargo check. No problem on that, though, because he'll give us the credit card again to buy the check. We do this and send him the money order. The money is sitting in our bank. All's well, right?

    Next, he calls to increase the book order by quite a bit. He tells us to get another money order and to use the credit card again. That's when we stopped. We called the guy and told him we figured it was a scam. He hangs up. The number gets disconnected. The website vanishes. We called the police and they filled us in on the whole scam. They told us the guy was probably not in the U.S. There was nothing they could do.

    He made his money on the bogus carrier and the Wells Fargo checks. We were out about $500.

    Meanwhile, we're sitting with all this cash in the bank from the credit card transfer that the bank had approved. We let it sit for six months. Then the same bank calls to tell us the card is stolen. The card owner is one of our soldiers who was just home from a Afghanistan

    Lesson learned. I consider that $500 my tuition.

    This guy was very, very good.

    Retired and loving it.
  • Pumpguy
    Pumpguy Member Posts: 658
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    Dan,
    Sorry for your loss. Now I know the basis for his scam. I guess you can't be too careful.
    Dennis Pataki. Former Service Manager and Heating Pump Product Manager for Nash Engineering Company. Phone: 1-888 853 9963
    Website: www.nashjenningspumps.com

    The first step in solving any problem is TO IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,526
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    Can the bank issuing the card stick it to the merchant six months after the fact? The card isn't reported stolen for six months to the issuing bank and that same back has recourse to the merchants?

    Is that really the situation?

    They can. We had no recourse at all. The police told us we'd be hearing from them at some point, and we sure did.

    It's a jungle out there, kiddies.

    Retired and loving it.
  • NY_Rob
    NY_Rob Member Posts: 1,370
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    Even scarier is when you have older relatives/parents in their 80's and 90's who still posses credit cards and have checking accounts... and answer their own phones at home :o



  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,646
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    It's amazing how creative, and totally con artist, at the same time. How could anyone with a conscience do something like that? Wow, even with the money cleared and in the bank, fraud.... Cash is king!

    Taylor
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,737
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    I got a new credit card last year, the number was stolen within the first month I had it. It is truly amazing.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,526
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    It was as real as anything we'd ever done in business. We checked out all that we could, and still got stung. The guy was amazingly convincing. Had an answer for everything. Very smooth.
    Retired and loving it.
    DanHolohan
  • Pumpguy
    Pumpguy Member Posts: 658
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    With the amount of effort these people put in to pull off their scams, they could do as well, even better, pursuing honest business.

    I know I wouldn't go through all that effort for $500, even if it was honest business. In my case, there was several days of correspondence before I said send cashiers check or forget it.
    Dennis Pataki. Former Service Manager and Heating Pump Product Manager for Nash Engineering Company. Phone: 1-888 853 9963
    Website: www.nashjenningspumps.com

    The first step in solving any problem is TO IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM.
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    edited September 2016
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    Just got one of these yesterday. Thought I'd go ahead and share the whole conversation for its entertainment value:

    Received from 7325100961 on Tue Sep 27, 2016 11:36 AM
    Hello, How are you doing today? My name is Mark and i got your number on Houzz. I would like to know if truly you are into Electrical work. Get back to me

    Sent to 7325100961 on Tue Sep 27, 2016 11:38 AM
    Well, yes, but we're over 2,000 miles away from NJ

    Received from 7325100961 on Tue Sep 27, 2016 03:01 PM
    Here is the address of my new home i just bought in the city: 55 Mathers Road, Silver City NM, 88061. so i need the Electrician work like light switch stuff, Changing of all the sockets and the fixtures and every other things need to be handle and i want you to remove old wires and install new wire and Please do provide me with the total cost for of the Repair

    Sent to 7325100961 on Tue Sep 27, 2016 03:02 PM
    With whom should I arrange access?

    Received from 7325100961 on Tue Sep 27, 2016 03:07 PM
    i will be very glad if you can handle everything for me, because i will love to come back to reside at the new home so i will like it to be fix before i arrive,I will be paying for the inspection of the property for proper handling and estimation .

    Sent to 7325100961 on Tue Sep 27, 2016 03:08 PM
    Please send me the owner's contact information.

    Received from 7325100961 on Tue Sep 27, 2016 03:12 PM
    I will advice you not to go to the house for now cause i just paid the initial owner %85 of the payment of the house and i still need to balance him cause the keys and the authorization letter of the house still with the owner.

    Received from 7325100961 on Tue Sep 27, 2016 03:13 PM
    Cause i will not like if you get embarrass in the house.

    Received from 7325100961 on Tue Sep 27, 2016 03:15 PM
    How much do you think i can deposit you pending the time you will get your inspection and estimate of the house for me.. I had about you that you're reliable and trustworthy person that's why i want you to handle everything for me.

    Received from 7325100961 on Tue Sep 27, 2016 05:38 PM
    Are you there?

    Sent to 7325100961 on Tue Sep 27, 2016 05:39 PM
    We are here. Where is the property owner?

    Received from 7325100961 on Tue Sep 27, 2016 05:44 PM
    I think he's presently in seminal right now for a meeting cause we discuss about the house yesterday. Why are you asking about him?

    Sent to 7325100961 on Tue Sep 27, 2016 05:45 PM
    Please have the owner contact us.

    Received from 7325100961 on Tue Sep 27, 2016 06:05 PM
    Okay


    And again this morning:
    Received from 7325100961 on Wed Sep 28, 2016 08:55 AM
    Hello, Good morning and how was your night? I would like to know if you're still willing to work for me?
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,506
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    Have you ever seen this youtube video about a guy who goes along with the scammer to mess with them?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QdPW8JrYzQ
    steve
    Tim Potter
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,526
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    Brian, we never shipped them anything, so they never actually bought anything from us. The scam was all about the Western Union money order. I couldn't keep the money the bank approved on the credit card because I couldn't show the credit card company that I had delivered goods against that money. He was paying in advance for something which he never intended to actually buy. We literally held the bag until the bank realized the card was reported stolen.
    Retired and loving it.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,526
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    Steve, we had that in our Thursday e-newsletter a while back.
    Retired and loving it.
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,506
    edited September 2016
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    lol....that's probably where I saw/bookmarked it from :)

    I will note another scam. I deliver fuel via some government contracts. Because this is public record, someone accessed the invoices, then left me a voicemail saying they were in charge of reviewing the invoices, and needed updated banking information for EFT (electronic funds transfers) and to call them back. Of course this sounds fishy. I'm sure his caller ID was spoofed.
    So I called my contact for the contract. They never heard of the guy, or recognized the phone number.
    So I called him back, got him on the phone, gave him lots of fake information. I also contacted my buddy in the police department. He said they are inundated with these types of complaints, and tracing them always leads to overseas, which means not a whole lot they can do.
    steve
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,526
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    Yes, exactly. The carrier doesn't exist. We mailed the check to Scotland, where they supposedly were. They had a website. People answered the phone when we called. It was soooo well done. All that was missing was Paul Neuman and Robert Redford. ;-)
    Retired and loving it.
    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • Paul S_3
    Paul S_3 Member Posts: 1,261
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    i recently recieved a email from a contractor in Brazil .....they are building a hotel....they requested 20 air handlers and condensers....i read scam right away
    ASM Mechanical Company
    Located in Staten Island NY
    Servicing all 5 boroughs of NYC.
    347-692-4777
    ASMMECHANICALCORP@GMAIL.COM
    ASMHVACNYC.COM
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/asm-mechanical-company
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,972
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    Get these all the time. Always play along. Lots of fun.
    SailahSWEIPaul S_3
  • Sailah
    Sailah Member Posts: 826
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    Haha I don't mean to laugh but I actually enjoy the scammers and BS phone calls. Maybe I'm just used to it but I fall right in line with them and usually get some chuckles out of it.

    On my computer I keep a website called buklau.com up in the browser. And a computer speaker near my phone. I've had em going for 15 minutes without saying a word.

    Maybe I'm just weird but it makes my whole day brighter lol
    Peter Owens
    SteamIQ
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,469
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    I'm being sued by the IRS......LOL. They call from cell phones. They don't even know that they are not "officers", or, that the IRS doesn't sue anyone.
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,144
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    I had a similar deal with some stuff on Craigslist. They offered to pay me more than asking price with a bank check.

    They wanted an address to pick up the parts, I sent them a Google pic of the local police station as a place to meet. Told them I would notify the cops to watch for them, in case I was late :)

    Never heard back.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    Solid_Fuel_ManCanuckerErin Holohan Haskell
  • DJD775
    DJD775 Member Posts: 252
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    Paul48 said:

    I'm being sued by the IRS......LOL. They call from cell phones. They don't even know that they are not "officers", or, that the IRS doesn't sue anyone.

    Nigerian Officer Steve Martin called me from the IRS with the same BS. I got a good laugh out of it.
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,469
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    Occasionally....I check the caller ID, and answer as SGT So-n-so, of my local PD. Funny......they don't want to talk then.
    Erin Holohan Haskell
  • ChicagoCooperator
    ChicagoCooperator Member Posts: 354
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    I got the windows security call first thing Monday morning at home (like 7 AM or earlier) - my windows computer wasn't bought in my name and isn't connected to the web, so, uh-huh.... My response was like "yeah, right" and hung up. Later that morning my mother called me at work asking about it and I had to ask "you didn't give them a credit card number, did you?" which she had, even though she was suspicious.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,526
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    Ouch. Sorry.
    Retired and loving it.
  • Erin Holohan Haskell
    Erin Holohan Haskell Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 2,284
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    Yikes! Sorry :/
    President
    HeatingHelp.com
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,622
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    I no longer have any credit cards. I do not do bank business over the internet. I go to the bank to make deposits and also to get cash. Gives me a chance to get to know the folks at the bank.

    I will never get shafted again or credit cards stolen.

    I am very careful about my social security number.

    This is a nasty world we live in!
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,469
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    @Tim McElwain
    We have gone backwards. When I was a kid, we rarely locked the doors of the house. If someone was in your car, he was closing your windows, it was starting to rain. It makes me sad.
    STEVEusaPASolid_Fuel_Manrick in Alaska
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,506
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    Paul48 said:

    @Tim McElwain
    We have gone backwards. When I was a kid, we rarely locked the doors of the house. If someone was in your car, he was closing your windows, it was starting to rain. It makes me sad.

    Yeah Paul, we never locked our doors, and I used to leave the keys in the car (slightly hidden) so I didn't have to look for them in the house in the morning.
    I'm amazed at the lengths people will go to try and scam someone. Just today my employee told me his gf was called by a 'US Treasury Agent' about unpaid taxes. Guess he didn't know what part of the gov't collects taxes.

    steve
  • Harvey Ramer
    Harvey Ramer Member Posts: 2,239
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    Being in the business world we are exposed to all this stuff every day. We learn what is real and what isn't. We learn what is considered normal, in business transactions and shy away from anything that is not normal.

    I can easily see how someone with limited exposure might fall victim.

    Perhaps a comprehensive list of what to watch out for should be published and updated as the scam artists methods change.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,061
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    I believe there may be a lot of people being scammed on their credit cards and never realize it. My last one was on a Visa with low limits that we specifically use for internet purchases only.

    "Optical Stop" showed up on the bill for $130 plus, included was a phone number which took you to voice mail that all operators were busy.
    Google search immediately showed up for this company including the word "Fraud". Several people got hit with a billing for several months before realizing this.

    This has happened before for lesser amounts. The Visa card fraud advisor told me that many people pay their bills without ever checking the statement.
    I guess if your card statement is as lengthy as an itemized cell phone bill then it would be easy to overlook small amounts.
    After "fishing" for accounts that allow small amounts to be overlooked then the charges would be increased for the big money........apparently this is a common occurrence.
    Hatterasguy
  • 4Johnpipe
    4Johnpipe Member Posts: 480
    edited October 2016
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    WOW I had a very similar text...twice actually. I texted back with my office number that someone could call then blocked the text number from my cell.
    If it wasn't mentioned watch out for emails also. If the email is representing a major company hover over the sender and it will drop down with the full email which is usually some bogus name...
    LANGAN'S PLUMBING & HEATING LLC
    Considerate People, Considerate Service, Consider It Done!
    732-751-1560
    email: langansph@yahoo.com
    www.langansplumbing.com
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,737
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    My credit cards message me and email me the instant they are used. And I mean instantly, when I use it I can't even put the card back in my wallet and the message is coming through. I have the threshold set at $1.00 anything above that messages me. My bank account has the same functionality. To me this is the best protection I can have. If you use it I know immediately and can call about it if it's fraud.

    The one downfall I have seen is gas pumps. Those go through at $1.00 because they download the final transactions at the end of the day. I never get notified, so it's not perfect.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
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    One big scam we are seeing in several counties here in Ohio (including my own) is at the gas pump. There are scammers out there who are able to replace the credit card scanner on the gas pump with one that will record the credit card number and transmit it back to the scammer. It will also record a debit card and the Pen # so the scammer can empty out your checking account. The State auditor has recently spent a good portion of his time traveling around these counties and re-certifying the gas pumps/credit card scanners. In the last week they have found several more that were fraudulent scanners.
    Of course we have all the other scams posted in this string as well.
    The other scam, are the charity calls you get. They are legitimate solicitors and they ask for donations for Police men's funds, Fire Fighter's fund, Children's charities. The scam is, they take their costs off the top and in most cases the charity either gets nothing, because the professional solicitor didn't recover his "costs" or the Charity gets anywhere from 1% to 3% and the operating costs of the Professional Solicitor consumes the rest of your donation. When you ask these callers how much of your donation will actually go to the charity, they usually say "I don't have access to that information".
  • Dave0176
    Dave0176 Member Posts: 1,177
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    Just got a text from said individual tonite explaining just moved into my area and need hot water heater and boiler replaced. I text back it depends on were your located as the phone area code was no were near me. Response was are you capable of doing this for me, my response please call me on this number and we will discuss. Their response "I'm hearing impaired" my response "NO THANK YOU" here is the number just in case
    857-777-5748
    DL Mechanical LLC Heating, Cooling and Plumbing 732-266-5386
    NJ Master HVACR Lic# 4630
    Specializing in Steam Heating, Serving the residents of New Jersey
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/dl-mechanical-llc

    https://m.facebook.com/DL-Mechanical-LLC-315309995326627/?ref=content_filter

    I cannot force people to spend money, I can only suggest how to spend it wisely.......
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
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    @Dave0176 , This poor person is probably deaf. If they just moved into the area, that might explain why the area code on their cell phone is not local. Poor guy, he's may well freeze to death this winter. :(
  • Harvey Ramer
    Harvey Ramer Member Posts: 2,239
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    Dave0176 said:

    Just got a text from said individual tonite explaining just moved into my area and need hot water heater and boiler replaced. I text back it depends on were your located as the phone area code was no were near me. Response was are you capable of doing this for me, my response please call me on this number and we will discuss. Their response "I'm hearing impaired" my response "NO THANK YOU" here is the number just in case
    857-777-5748

    I got a text tonight from the same number requesting plumbing service. Says he just moved into town.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
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    Probably because Dave wouldn't take the bait. :)