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.