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Craigslist Jobs May Be Too Good to Be True

It seemed like the perfect job, but an ad on Craiglist led one unsuspecting college student directly into the hands of a con-artist.
It seemed like the perfect job, but an ad on Craigslist led one unsuspecting college student directly into the hands of a con-artist.

Here are some ways you can avoid falling victim to a similar scam.

'Wanted: cleaning, cooking… residential house cleaner - up to $12 dollars an hour…' Craigslist lists jobs that seem perfect for anyone looking for quick cash. But one college freshman now knows better.

"She needed a little extra spending money," Eric Wise, US Postal Inspector said.

Postal inspectors say she 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 Wise.

So, the victim responded via Craigslist.

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

Then, the victim is 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," said Wise.

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, it was declined. I think the meal was just a few bucks, she said this doesn't make any sense at all I just made $300," said Wise.

She goes to the ATM and her account is $2700.00 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.

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

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

She tried to talk to her bank - but got no help. in fact, the $2700.00 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, 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," said Wise.

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," said Wise

Another piece of advice from postal inspectors, if you are suspicious of a check and its validity, go to the bank and ask them to investigate.

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