Troubleshooter: Durham man gets scammed with Craigslist job offer

DURHAM (WTVD) -- When you respond to a job offer, you expect to make money. However, for one Durham resident, this was not the case.

Jason Hearn was looking to earn some extra money. So he started searching for job ads on Craigslist.

"I found this one ad, it posted for $20 an hour doing little work for a family that is supposedly going to move here from Virginia," Hearn said.

So Hearn responded to the ad for landscaping help. Through email, the couple wrote that the job paid $300 a week, and they were sending the first weeks payment in advance.

But instead of a $300 check, Jason received a check for $1,450.

"He said 350 of that, 300 was for my labor, pre-work labor, then $50 was for gas, and driving back and forth whenever they needed me," he said.

With the remaining funds, once the check cleared his bank, the couple told Jason to wire the money to an art dealer in Georgia that they were buying art from for their new home in the Triangle.

"So I did it. I sent the check to him once it cleared," Hearn said.

Then Jason got another check for $1,400 from the couple, but before he could cash it, he heard from his bank.

"She just told me that the check that I initially deposited from that person -- it is no good. It's coming back," Hearn said.

So the money Hearn believed was deposited into his account had never cleared and he was stuck in the negatives.

"I don't make that kind of money," he said.

We started investigating and learned the company on the checks sent to Jason is Mechanical Technology Inc., which is a real company based in Montana.

A representative from the company told us they have nothing to do with the Craigslist ad or bad checks. They are also victims of this scam.

A rep added that the scammers were using their actual routing and account numbers and made fake checks which they are sending all over the country to unsuspecting victims.

She said they have since closed the account linked to the checks, and have heard from other victims like Hearn.

"I'm just at a loss. I want to be the only victim. That's the least I could say," said Hearn. "I'm not exactly sure how often this happens."

Unfortunately, this happens often. We have heard from numerous job seekers who find fake job scams like this one.

Mechanical Technology told ABC11 that they have tried to take legal action, but because they don't know where the checks are coming from, there is not much they can do.

The best advice is to stay away from offers that require you to wire any amount of money back to the employer.

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