Knoxville woman nearly falls victim to Craigslist job scam

Knoxville woman nearly falls victim to Craigslist job scam

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Wanda Eidson thought she had an easy job lined up. The job would pay her $400 a week just for driving a mobile billboard. Wanda Eidson thought she had an easy job lined up. The job would pay her $400 a week just for driving a mobile billboard.
Her would-be employer sent information by text messages, but there was no name, just a phone number. At first, Wanda Eidson and her son James thought the deal was legitimate. Her would-be employer sent information by text messages, but there was no name, just a phone number. At first, Wanda Eidson and her son James thought the deal was legitimate.
James Eidson says he became suspicious when he looked closely at the check his mother received. He detected some glaring discrepancies. James Eidson says he became suspicious when he looked closely at the check his mother received. He detected some glaring discrepancies.
"I believe other people will fall for it, and it scares me," Wanda Eidson said. "I believe other people will fall for it, and it scares me," Wanda Eidson said.
By DON DARE
6 On Your Side Consumer Investigator

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Fake check scams are the most pervasive fraud in the United States. The checks hit just about every demographic group with some variations to their clever con.

These scam artists are now targeting people looking for work, the people who can least afford to be scammed.

Some users spend years on Craigslist, buying and selling many great things, without ever running across a single scam. However as we have shown you over the years, there is a bit of fraud activity going on on Craigslist.

This time, the would-be thieves used an old con, with new technology thrown in the mix.

Wanda Eidson thought she had an easy job lined up.

"I was going to be driving around with a Johnny Walker sign on my van advertising Johnny Walker scotch," she said.  

Eidson figured the sign would be stuck to the side of her van. The job would pay her $400 a week just for driving a mobile billboard.

Listed as a general labor position on Craigslist, Eidson answered the jobs wanted opening in early May. Within days, a $2,000 check arrived to help her start.

"The check was supposed to pay to have the sign put on my van and the rest was for me for doing the work," said Eidson.

Her would-be employer sent information by text messages, but there was no name, just a phone number. At first, Eidson and her son James thought the deal was legitimate.

"At first I did, but when it got here and there was no decal to put on my van and there was no other information, I started having an odd feeling about it. Like, 'Hey, this is not right. I have no details what am i going to be doing,'" Eidson said.

Her son James says he became suspicious when he looked closely at the check his mother received. He detected some glaring discrepancies.

"I noticed that the address for the bank was in Baltimore, Md., then the address of the envelope in which they check came, it was sent from a library in Florida," he said.

Those are tell-tale signs of the fake check scam that's been around for years in a growing number of fraudulent schemes including foreign lottery and secret shopper scams. However, Wanda Eidson and her son had not heard of this illegal scheme before.

Keeping up with the latest trend, the scammers used text messaging as their source of communication. She says she has received around 40 text messages from the scammers.

Since Eidson had not cashed the check, her employers were getting impatient.

"Hello, why the big silent with the money with you?" read one of the text messages.

"He kept telling me to go cash the check, put the check in my bank account. I kept telling him the check had to be there for 10 days," Eidson said.
  
Despite looking legitimate, Eidson did not cash the check, nor will she, because it's fake. It would cost her if she returned money to her employer as he asked her to do.
   
"I believe other people will fall for it, and it scares me," she said.

The Eidsons have reported the scam to Craigslist. The post has been removed.

Under federal law, banks generally must make funds available to you from cashier, personal or official bank checks within a business day after you deposit the check. However, just because funds are available on a check you've deposited does not mean the check is good.

It's best not to rely on money from any type of check unless you know and trust the person you're dealing with, or until your bank confirms the check has cleared.

The bottom line is until your bank confirms that the money from the check you deposited into your account has cleared, you are responsible for any funds withdrawn against that check.

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