12 On Your Side Alert: Craigslist Computer Job Scam

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - If you're looking to make some extra cash online, we have a warning.

While you're trying to make some money, so are the crooks.

A viewer called 12 after nearly being scammed when he posted an Ad to fix computers on Craigslist.

Dave Bradley is like many Americans, he fell on hard times. After 26 years on his job, he was laid off.

"Now I am living day to day. I have got resumes everywhere. The economy really isn't that great," he says.

He has a background in computers and turned to Craigslist. He posted an Ad offering to fix computers. Soon after, he got an email reply from a potential customer wanting him to fix seven computers. He thought he was in business.

"He knew about operating systems and antivirus software and I have been in the business 26 years, so I thought I was talking to a professional," he told us.

Turns out the person was a professional scammer. Bradley says what caught him off guard was that the sender was well versed in computers and sent emails in detail about the work that needed to be done.

"They have really gotten good because I have seen thousands of these," he says.

The person never gave a phone number and only communicated through email.

Those seven computes never showed up, instead, a check for over $2,000. Bradley was only charging $350.

"There is always that little bit in the back of your mind that says maybe this is true," he says.

It was just wishful thinking. This was a scam and it hurt.

"Completely devastating, when you are waiting on the next 20 or 30 dollars to come in from a job, 350 dollars is going to make a big difference," he says.

What followed was the typical M-O. Crooks sent an email telling him the check was a mistake. He was to wire that extra money back via Western Union, and keep an extra $50 bucks for his troubles.

"Being out of work after 26 years, they feed on desperation, so that is why I was enticed," he told us.

Bradley called 12 to warn others using the computer to make some extra cash to stay alert.

"Talk to the person, don't give anything up, don't pay to get money, exchange phone numbers, don't just give them your information," he explains.

Craigslist constantly reminds users to be on the lookout for these type scams.

Bradley says one bad experience is not enough from him to take down his Ad.

"I have had great success with Craigslist. I think it is a great site still, you just have to be careful," he says.

Copyright 2012 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.