DEAR HARRY: Back in 1997, we hit some hard times. We even fell behind on our mortgage. Sleepless nights had us on edge much of the time. We met a man who apparently was able to do wonders for people in financial trouble. We made the mistake of trusting him. The next few months were the mother of all nightmares. We lost our home. We were only four years from paying off the mortgage when it all happened. We contacted the FBI, and we discovered that we were on a long list of this guy's victims. Even banks were on the list. Our home is gone, the furnishings are gone, our credit score is so low it could fit under a snake's belly and we are in deep debt. We're just about able to stay afloat. He is finally in prison, but our money is gone. My wife wants to sue, but I can't see a good reason for that. Is there any help for us, Harry?

WHAT HARRY SAYS: Let me repeat my mantra of many years: The only person who can steal from you is someone you trust! If you don't trust me, you'll never let me near your valuables. I am virtually certain that this toad's assets will not cover any money you may gain in a lawsuit. Don't throw good money after bad. As long as you're not drowning, stay away from bankruptcy. Good luck!

For older people particularly: Beware of smooth-talking new friends and self-proclaimed gurus.

Email Harry Gross at harrygrossDN@gmail.com, or

write to him at Daily News, 801 Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19107.

Harry urges all his readers to give blood. Contact the American Red Cross at 1-800-Red Cross.