College student becomes victim on Craigslist

By Jodi Mohrmann - Managing Editor of special projects
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It seemed like the perfect job, but an ad on Craigslist led one unsuspecting college student directly into the hands of a con artist.

"She needed a little extra spending money," explained U.S. Postal Inspector Eric Wise.

Craigslist list jobs that seem perfect for anyone looking for quick cash, but the college victim now knows better.

"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.

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

"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," said Wise.

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 different 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," explained Wise.

The victim admits she didn't hesitate, thinking the request was no big deal.

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

Wise explained, "She goes to the bank the next day, they say, 'Yeah, the check you deposited was a fraudulent check, it came back.""

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

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

The victim tried to talk to her bank, but she says she 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, 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," warned 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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