College Student Loses Big in Craigslist Job Scam - WBAY

Target 2 Consumer Alert

College Student Loses Big in Craigslist Job Scam


A college student thought she found the perfect job on Craigslist, but it led her directly into the hands of a con artist.

She responded to an ad placed for a housekeeping job that offered up to $12 an-hour.

"Guy is looking for someone to clean a house he is going to move into, and he's going to pay roughly 50 bucks a cleaning, and eventually could lead to future cleaning gigs," described Eric Wise, U.S. Postal Inspector.

Postal inspectors say a college freshman thought it was a good fit and wouldn't interfere with her classes, so she responded to the ad.

"The suspect sends her back an email detailing the job and asking her for more specific information, kind of makes her feel it legitimizes the job a bit," said Wise.

Then the student was asked to do a "favor."
Here's how Wise explained the scammer's pitch: "'I've got an artist I've commissioned to do a painting for my house, and what I'd like to do is instead of writing two checks, I'd like to write you a check, have you take your fees out and the cleaning supplies fees out, and then have you send the rest of the check out to my artists.'"

The student admitted that she didn't hesitate, but she soon realized there was a problem.
"That night, actually, she went to get some fast food, swiped her debit card, it was declined," said Wise. "I think the meal was just a few bucks. She said, 'this doesn't make any sense at all. I just made $300.'"

She went to the ATM and her account was $2700 in the red.
"She goes to the bank the next day, they say, 'yeah, the check you deposited was a fraudulent check, it came back,'" said Wise.
The victim tried to contact the person she thought was her employer.

"Obviously, gets no contact and that's when she realizes she had been scammed."

The $2700 was sent to a collections agency and wreaked havoc on her credit.
"The life lesson she learned the hard way is never trust an ad on Craigslist," said Wise. "Do your due diligence, the same amount of resources you would put into how you got ripped off, and if you can get credit, you need to do so beforehand."

Consumer experts say being asked to cash checks and then make a payment is a red flag.

If you are suspicious of a check, go to the bank and ask them to investigate.


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