BONITA SPRINGS, Fla.- BEWARE! More and more scammers are taking advantage of job seekers in Southwest Florida on the Internet.
Steven Wanamaker needed some extra money so he went on the internet to one of his favorite Web sites-Craigslist to search for a side job. Wanamaker told WINK News he frequently uses Craigslist to find great deals for his home and thought the site would be a useful tool to find extra work.
During his job search, Wanamaker found an ad for a house that needed to be cleaned. He replied to the ad and exchanged emails with the person who claimed to be the owner of the home. Wanamaker said the man told him he would receive a $2,000 check in the mail. The presumed homeowner also asked that Wanamaker forward some money to a painter.
"Part of the scam was that they would hire me to clean their house and I would forward money to the painter," said Wanamaker.
But not knowing it was a scam, Wanamaker deposited the check in his bank account. He then sent $1,600 to a painter and kept the remaining $400.
"The following day I was declined a purchase, showing a negative account balance," he said.
Wanamaker knew he had been scammed and reported the scheme to the Lee County Sheriff's Office. Detectives are now investigating the incident.
"Any time you send money through the mail to somebody you don't know or never met, there is going to be some sorta risk," said John Sheehan, a spokesman for the Lee County Sheriff's Office.
Wanamaker said he has learned an important lesson and warns others to also be aware of internet scams.
"Sometimes it really is too good to be true," said Wanamaker.
For tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of a scam, log onto the sheriff's Web site: http://www.sheriffleefl.org/prevention/