Beware of Craigslist work from home ads

COLUMBIA, MO (KTVI) – Job hunters beware. A new scam on Craigslist takes job applications, and tries to dupe the applicant out of money. It almost happened to a Columbia, Illinois woman who caught on and is blowing the whistle.

Rabecca Townsend was surfing the ads on Craigslist St. Louis when she came upon the part time work she was looking for. There was an ad for an administrative assistant that would allow her to work from home.

She emailed in her resume, and then got a response from a man claiming to be Sean Nichols. Nichols referred to himself as a “successful entrepreneur, investor, and research journalist” who travels abroad regularly.

Things got weird when Rabecca received an express mail envelope without having even accepted the job. It had a check inside for $3450 and was accompanied by another email with some specific instructions.

“Deposit it through my ATM at my bank,” Rabecca says was the first order. Then, “Go to Moneygram, take $400 for myself. Take out the rest of the money in cash. Go to Moneygram, send half of it to one person at one address and half of it to another person at another address in the country of Benin which I’ve never heard of.”

That small country is in West Africa, and the two people, named in the email, were the ones supposed to receive the money. They were likely the scammers and, at this point, Rabecca was on to them.

“At this point I’m like oh my God! Someone could have really gotten me if I really didn’t know that this is really totally fake,” she said.

The plan apparently was for Rabecca to cash the check, then, before the bank could bounce it, send off more than $3000 to Africa and the scammers.

“Then you’re out money in your account and you’re having to pay back money you never had to begin with,” she said with a sarcastic laugh.

Both ads are still on Craigslist at this point, so job hunters need to be careful.

We attempted to contact Craigslist regarding the scam, but to this point, they have not responded.

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