Warning about fake ads

By Diane Walker - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Fake check scammers are on the hunt for victims. They're placing their jobs in a tough economy, and waiting for people to contact them.

This scam has many variations -- from someone offering to buy something you're advertising, or paying you to ship things from home. Tonight it's a job ad for a nanny.

Sandra Brown checks the want ads in the newspaper quite often looking for jobs for her husband who was laid off a year and a half ago.

"I ran across this job for a nanny, just checking through there and I thought about my granddaughter," she said.

Sandra's granddaughter is a college student who was looking to make some extra cash to pay for school, so she emailed the listed address.

"The lady had emailed her back and said that job had been taken. But there was another one where a friend of hers was looking for some part time help," said Sandra.

Sandra's granddaughter then began emailing the second contact. The man told her he worked for a company based overseas and needed a U.S. based contact to collect payment checks from clients. When she received the first check in the mail she was told keep 10 percent and then wire the balance of the check to the company.

"Took it to the currency exchange and they told her right off the bat that the check didn't do it and the check was no good," Sandra said.

The Better Business Bureau says there are several red flags in this complaint. One: the emails she received were full of grammar and spelling errors. Two: the job required her to wire money through a service or receive and forward suspicious goods. And three: "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."

The fake checks can look so real, they sometimes fool bank tellers. Some additional tips to remember.

  • You are responsible for checks you deposit.
  • There's no legitimate reason for someone to give you money then ask you to wire part of it back.
  • Insist on a cashier's check from a local bank in the exact amount if a stranger is paying you.

If you get a fake check, give it to your bank's fraud unit or contact the National Consumer League's Fraud Center.

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