I found a contractor, Joe McCauley, through CraigsList. He seemed legit. Here is his website: http://www.allphaselectric.com/
His phone number:704-576-3333. Anyway, we drew up a plan of doing some work in my basement, and commenced this February. He worked well, so I decided to give him additional work. Well, long story short, he took the additional money, over $2500, and never showed up again. Doesn't answer any calls or respond to email. It's been almost 2 weeks now.
What are my options, apart from sucking it up, and being smarter next time? How can I prevent Joe McCauley from doing the same, to somebody else?