Consumer Alert: Nanny scam targets college students

Nanny scam targets college students (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Babysitter or nanny scams are targeting college students who are trying to make a little extra cash while they go to school.

But, as Local 12 Troubleshooter Howard Ain shows us, some students are being left with thousands of dollars in debts.

We heard of this type of scam before, but never pulled off in quite this way.

Fortunately for this one woman, a quick-thinking student figured it out just in time.

Caitriona McOsker is a law school student who has also works as a nanny.

Her resume is posted on childcare sites, so she was interested when she got an email from a family looking for help.

“It said I’m moving to the us - I’m from Ireland - my sister is looking for a nanny for her kids and I thought it was a great opportunity,” said McOsker.

The email went to Caitriona's personal email address - which was unusual - she is used to corresponding through the job sites - she assumed they got it off her resume.

“We want you to get our house in order, our affairs in order, before we get we here, get the apartment set up,” said the email.

Both sides e-mailed back and forth for more than a month.

“They sent a check for about $4,000 and they said deposit this check and send the rest to our financial person with cash,” said McOsker.

Caitriona was told she should take $250.00 out as an initial payment.

“Which is a lot of money for literally receiving a check and sending money to someone else. So, I thought okay, 250 bucks to send money to your financial person? For doing these little things for you? Sure,” said McOsker.

She made the deposit on her lunch break and then wired the remaining money.

When she returned to work and mentioned the story to a colleague, he thought it sounded like a scam.

“I'm stunned, I’m shocked, I can't believe that happened. I'm like, I’ve lost thousands of dollars. I don't have thousands of dollars,” said McOsker.

Her colleague looked up how to call the wire service and because she acted quickly, they were able to stop payment.

“Ten minutes later, I got a call from a man. Not an Irish woman saying you stopped the money, what happened,” said McOsker.

Postal inspectors say these scams take many forms like work-at-home opportunities and online auction site transactions. The best advice is to proceed with caution.

“Ask specific questions. Ask for details on what their employment is, on what is expected of them,” said Ricky Vida, a US postal inspector.

The important thing to remember is whenever you're hired to do a job be very suspicious if you are ever asked to cash a check and then forward the money.

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