Scammers are preying people looking for jobs and one Springs woman was almost a victim.
Abril Trujillo is hoping to get a job as a nanny, and she posted an ad on Craigslist. It wasn't long before she got a response.
"This person said they were out of state and that they were coming down here in two weeks," said Trujillo. "They were looking for somebody before they got down here to watch their three-year-old daughter."
The person said her name was "Laura" and asked for information about Trujillo, including her references.
"Really professional, they seemed legitimate and then all of a sudden, it just got a little strange," Trujillo said.
"Laura" wanted Trujillo to buy her some storage space in the Springs, and said she would send a check to cover the cost. Trujillo got a check in the mail for $2,999.00, but had a bank teller look at it instead of depositing it. The teller confirmed it was fake.
How these scams almost always work is after you get the fake check and deposit it, the crooks want you to send or wire them money back. The money shows up in your bank account at first, but then the check bounces and you're out the cash. Scammers use the same tactics on people looking for housing on the internet and also send checks in the mail claiming you've won a prize.
Soon after she got the check in the mail, Trujillo got an email from another scammer who also wanted to send her a check.
"I was a little disappointed about it because I was hoping to find a job," said Trujillo. "But now, I took my ad off Craiglist. I'm not going to deal with Craiglist any more."
Here are some tips from the Federal Trade Commission to protect yourself from a counterfeit check scam:
* Throw away any offer that asks you to pay for a prize or a gift. If it?s free or a gift, you shouldn?t have to pay for it. Free is free.
* Resist the urge to enter foreign lotteries. It?s illegal to play a foreign lottery through the mail or the telephone, and most foreign lottery solicitations are phony.
* Know who you?re dealing with, and never wire money to strangers.
* If you?re selling something, don?t accept a check for more than the selling price, no matter how tempting the offer or how convincing the story. Ask the buyer to write the check for the correct amount. If the buyer refuses to send the correct amount, return the check. Don?t send the merchandise.
* If you accept payment by check, ask for a check drawn on a local bank, or a bank with a local branch. That way, you can make a personal visit to make sure the check is valid. If that?s not possible, call the bank where the check was purchased, and ask if it is valid. Get the bank?s phone number from directory assistance or an Internet site that you know and trust, not from the check or from the person who gave you the check.
* If the buyer insists that you wire back funds, end the transaction immediately. Legitimate buyers don?t pressure you to send money by wire transfer services. In addition, you have little recourse if there?s a problem with a wire transaction. * Resist any pressure to ?act now.? If the buyer?s offer is good now, it should be good after the check clears.