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Rip-Off Alert: Student scammed after answering job ad

Reported by: Marie Mortera
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Updated: 10/28/2013 7:18 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV -- It seemed like the perfect job, but an ad on Craigslist led one unsuspecting North Carolina college student directly into a rip-off.

Postal inspectors say the student found a perfect job that would not interfere with her classes.

“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 other cleaning gigs,” said U.S. Postal Inspector Eric Wise.

The victim responded via Craigslist.

“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,” Wise said.

The victim was then asked to do a favor for her new employer.

“ ‘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 checkout to my artists,’ ” Wise said the con man requested.

She did exactly as she was asked and found out there was a problem almost immediately.

“That night actually she went to get some fast food, swiped her debit card, and it was declined,” Wise said. “I think the meal was just a few bucks. She said, ‘This doesn’t make any sense at all; I just made $300.’ “

She goes to the ATM, and her account is $2,700 in the red.

“She goes to the bank the next day,” Wise said. “They say, ‘Yeah, the check you deposited was a fraudulent check. It came back.”

She tried to contact the person she thought was her employer.

“Obviously she gets no contact, and that’s when she realizes she had been scammed,” Wise said.

She tried to talk to her bank but got no help. In fact, the $2,700 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,” Wise said. “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.”

Postal inspectors say it is important to step back and look at the big picture.

“If someone is pressuring that they want something immediately, there is a reason they want it immediately,” Wise said.

Postal inspectors add that if you are suspicious of a check and its validity, go to the bank and ask them to investigate.


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