A few years ago I was looking to make some extra money outside of my full time job. So like many people I turned to Craigslist and started going through the part time and work-from-home jobs they had available. After about a half hour, I had picked some out that seemed to be a good fit but there was one in particular that I felt could really supplement my income.
It was a personal assistant job but one you did from home. Perfect. I could still keep my day job and actually work this second job at the same time if need be. It seemed easy enough. I was to be a personal assistant to an art dealer that lived overseas but still had a home in Seattle. The ad said he’d be back every few months to meet with me to go over projects I’d be appointed in the coming months. I would check his mail, reply to calls, run errands, make bank deposits. Personal assistant seemed pretty self explanatory. Pay would be $300 per week and would be paid via check in the mail. The position seemed to good to be true and that should’ve been my first red flag.
My second red flag should’ve been that attached with instructions for my first tasks, was a check. The employer asked me to deposit the check in my account and when it cleared, take my $300 for the week and send the rest via Western Union to two different people. He called them “investors.” The check was for $2500. So I was to send $1200 to one person and then $1000 to the other.
I’ll admit, I was blinded by the ease of this job and the money. I really needed it at the time and that’s exactly the people they pray on; those desperate and naïve. While I was doing the Western Union with the teller they were suspicious and told me they really had a bad feeling about the transaction. I assured them everything was legit, but even I had that feeling. I completed both Western Unions anyway. About an hour later I went out to the ATM to get the $300 and it kept denying my transaction. I checked my balance and my heart dropped.
Negative over $2500 dollars.
I ran back to the bank to try and reverse those Western Unions, and I was able to get one. But the other had already been picked up. I kept trying to contact my so called employer, but he stopped answering emails and his phone had magically been disconnected. It hit me then and there that I’d officially been scammed. Craigslist got me.
My account remained negative over $2500 and my bank account ended up being closed for fraud. I ended up keeping the money I got back from one of the Western Unions and didn’t even bother putting it back into that bank because I knew I wouldn’t be able to pay the rest back any time soon. All I could say was I’d been scammed. I had an account with this bank for over 10 years and it was devastating to watch it go into closing because I wasn’t aware of the signs I was being scammed. I wasn’t able to save my relationship with a bank that had done so much for me over the years.
When I got hired on at the bank, I had to open an account with them to get direct deposit, so it was good to start a new relationship with a bank, but it will always bother me that I ruined a checking account behind a scam.
Lessons Learned: Understand that legitimate side jobs WILL NOT send you a check up front and ask you to send some money back. Jobs don’t pay you for work you haven’t done. Bottom line. There are so many opportunities for extra income and that’s a great thing, but do your research on the postings and tread very carefully with work from home jobs.
#WYSD-What You Should Do: Recognize the signs of a job scam. Tread very carefully with Craigslist especially and use more reputable job sites to ensure your safety and legitimacy of the job. There’s an article on Thebalance.com (I’ll post the link below) that details what to look for with job scams and how to recognize the red flags. Check it out, write them down, and don’t be naïve.
Making extra income is huge these days, but don’t ruin your old money by chasing new money that isn’t legit. Don’t do what I did.