COLUMBUS, Ga.- Corporal Jane Edenfield of the Columbus Police Department’s Financial Crimes Unit says there is a scam where people are being offered a job, and are then asked to deposit a check into their bank accounts and then send it to another account. Once this happens, the check will come back as bounced, and the person will be out of their money.
She says the scammers prey on those looking for work and will find them off job search sites and offer them a job.
She says the letters the scammers write contain poor grammar and punctuation and adds they promise the victims benefits and being able to work from home.
Corporal Edenfield adds that these cases are heartbreaking to deal with and the department wants to help as much as they can, but the cases take time. One of the big reasons is the fact that the victim is in Columbus and the scammer could be somewhere entirely different. “You’re not walking into a bank with a gun,” Cpl. Edenfield says. “You’re sitting behind a computer screen with victims you don’t know. It makes it that much easier for the suspect to do because they’re not meeting the person they are scamming. They’re sometimes sitting at a computer millions of miles away.”
Laurie Barile is one of the victims of this case. She put her resume on a job search site in June and heard back from someone in August. The person wanted her to do an interview on Google Hangout and she was then given the job after the interview. After she got the job, she received a check for $1,900 and was told to place the money in her account and then once it cleared, she had to place it in another account. A few days later, she learned that the check bounced. Soon after, she received another check for more than $2,000. She took it to the bank and made them aware of the scam. She felt defeated and added, “To try to explain this to your 12 year old, that’s hard. Now, I’m stuck and in a bad place. I haven’t recovered and I don’t know if I will. It’s made everything hard. It’s hard to meet my monthly obligations, I don’t know what to do about Christmas, you know Santa Claus for him. This whole thing has really put me in a bad position.”
Even though Barile has not been able to recapture any monetary losses, she hopes that she can help someone else prevent this from happening to them.
If you feel that you are a victim of a scam, contact the Columbus Police Department’s Financial Crimes Unit at 706-653-3424.