College student scammed after applying for Craigslist job

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Many Craigslist jobs seem like a perfect fit for anyone looking for quick cash, but one college freshman learned a hard lesson after being ripped off by a scammer.

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

The unsuspecting student thought she had found a job she could work around her college courses.

"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.

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

Wise explained what the scammer asked her to do. "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 check out to my artists."

The woman admits she had no hesitation about the request, thinking it wasn't a big deal. That same night, her debit card was declined for a fast food order totaling only a few dollars.

"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 discovered her account balance was $-2,700. She received no help after speaking with her bank and, in fact, had the $2,700 sent to a collections agency.

"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 if you are suspicious about the validity of a check, ask your bank to investigate it first.


  • Micaela Spredeman

    I had the exact same thing happened to me and I even contacted Fox 6 about it but at least this time they aired the story. Had they put my story out there when I contacted them, this person probably would have been fore warned.

  • greg

    So its a version of a nigerian scam, you get a check for over the amount and you give that extra to someone. The only real money is what comes out of your bank account. This story doesn’t add up though, because she was negative due to a bad check. Which ment she spent 2,700$ that she didn’t have (either gave it to the “painter” or spent it on herself) before the check was even cleared. Its not that they got a hold of her account and took the money.

    • Dwayne Brunilson

      Absolutely. She’s not telling the whole truth. There wouldn’t be a negative balance unless she was given the money !!

  • Dwayne Brunilson

    Fox6, you are wrong. Unless she actually received the money there is no way her account would be in the negative. There is no way the writer of the check could have gotten the money… The check would have just been voided, after is was ran through the second time. The reporters at your station need to get their acts together !!!

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