A Hampton Roads woman looking for a job on Craigslist was left with false hope and a fraudulent check. Now NewsChannel 3 has tracked the shady scam through three states.
"I was kind of weirded out because no one ever just sends you money," said the woman who asked NewsChannel 3 not to share her name.
A few weeks ago, the woman submitted her resume to a job posting on Craigslist called "Customer Service Worldwide." Finally, a so-called "Sandra Williams" with the e-mail address "firstname.lastname@example.org" responded to her, and said the woman would be working as a mystery shopper to critique any Western Union location near her.
This week, the viewer received a check made out to her for $2,100.
"I was supposed to keep $400 for myself and then take the $1,700 to Western Union and send it to them immediately," said the viewer of the instructions that "Williams" e-mailed to her.
"I asked her how could she send me a check and I never done any work for her, and she said 'well, this is a part of the secret shopper process; we send you the money first and then you do the job.'"
Instead of cashing the check, the woman called NewsChannel 3 to take action. Here's what we found sketchy about the check right away:
- The check bears the words "Wachovia Bank", which does not exist anymore since Wells Fargo Bank took it over.
- The signature on the check appeared to be computer generated.
- There is no watermark on the check.
A local bank's research also revealed the routing number on the check belongs to a bank account for Aramark Business Facilities based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. An ARAMARK spokesperson told NewsChannel 3 they were notified by Wells Fargo of the appearance of fraudulent checks bearing the ARAMARK name. The bank did not honor any fraudulent checks and their origin is being investigated.
We also researched the address on the FedEx envelope and discovered it belonged to Southern Reprographics based in Little Rock, Arkansas. A spokesperson there told NewsChannel 3 they had received a few calls about their FedEx account number being used to ship the checks, but they did not know who was behind the scam.