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Howard Ain, Troubleshooter: Too Much Trust

Updated: Wednesday, October 15 2014, 10:59 AM EDT
CINCINNATI (Howard Ain) -- Certain scams have been around for a long time, but the thieves keep changing them enough so they snare new victims.

Local 12 Troubleshooter Howard Ain has a warning for those who use Craigslist.

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

Here's a scam of which we all need to be aware.

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

Wanted: cleaning, cooking, and residential house cleaner. Up to 12 dollars an hour.

Craiglist lists jobs seem perfect for anyone looking for quick cash, but one college freshman now knows better.

"If a guy is looking for someone to clean a house he is going to move into and he's going to pay roughly $50.00 bucks a cleaning and eventually could lead to other cleaning gigs," says Wise.

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

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

She 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," says Wise.

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

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

She goes to the ATM and her account is $2,700.00 in the red.

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

U.S. postal inspectors say if you're at all suspicious about the validity of a check, take it to your bank and ask them to investigate before you deposit the check.

VIDEO HEREHoward Ain, Troubleshooter: Too Much Trust

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