E. Texas woman warns job seekers after Craigslist scam

Published: Dec. 19, 2015 at 10:18 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 20, 2015 at 3:29 AM CST
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TYLER, TX (KLTV) - An East Texas woman says she could be facing criminal charges after falling for a Craigslist scam.

The college student says she was just looking to make some extra cash for the holidays. Now she owes back thousands of dollars.

The 20-year-old, who wishes to remain anonymous, began her holiday job search on Craigslist.

"I got a response back and it said this position has been filled but I've been looking for a personal assistant," she said.

The response was from a man named James Thomas. He told her he would pay her $700 a week.

"You'd be great. Can't wait to meet you but I'm out of town right now. But since I'm out of town could you do these things for me until I get in," she said he told her.

She says he sent her four checks to deposit into her bank account, and then withdraw certain amounts to send money orders to clients.

"I have deposited four checks already, and it's going to make me negative eight grand in my account and I'm 20, going to school," she said.

On Thursday, she was notified by her bank that checks she deposited were forged.

"They said 'sorry, you're responsible for it, you're going to have to pay it back.' And if I don't, they will most likely sue me and I'll have a fraud charge on my criminal record," she said.

According to the Better Business Bureau, scams like this spike during the holidays.

"We've seen things like this out there, we've seen nanny type job postings where, send us some money, we're going to do background check on you, and you never hear from them again because all they wanted was the money for a background check," said BBB President, Mechele Mills.

Officials say anything that sounds too good to be true, is a red flag.

"Why would somebody need you to deposit money into your account and pay them? It's just not something a legitimate company is going to ask you to do," Mills said.

Which is why a little research goes a long way. Otherwise, you could lose the very thing you were trying to save.

"This is school money, this is rent money and I'm getting hit with all of this. And I don't want that to happen to anybody else," the victim said.

The BBB says scammers target job seekers year-round and they warn to never give out personal banking information.

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