(WTOL) - Scammers are targeting people looking for room mates through a crafty fake check scheme.
Many times, the scammer claims to be a renter from outside the area, often outside the country. The person will send a deposit for more than the proper balance, then claim to have unexpected expenses that crop up. The scammer will ask potential roommates to send deposit money back as a favor.
Dana Myers and Beatrice Chirla almost fell victim this "roommate scam." The friends needed a new roommate to share their apartment, and, when they looked online, they thought they found the perfect fit.
"I was excited, and I told Dana, 'We don't have to go months without a roommate. It'll be great!' And I received a message from someone named Erin Doty," Chirla said.
"Erin" said she was from London and began e-mailing Myers and Chirla in February. She even sent a picture.
Myers and Chirla realized something was amiss when Chirla asked for a $250 security deposit and received three money orders for $925 each. The money orders dated back to January, before the girls had first heard from "Erin."
"That she wanted me to send her $1,500 of the money order back to her, to an address in the U. K., because she needs to finish her financial plans," Chirla said.
Scams like this one count on you depositing a fake check or money order then sending cash to the scammer before the bank realizes the fraud, and you end up paying for it. There is no legitimate reason for someone who gives you money to send some of it back.
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