Desperate for money, woman scammed through "job"

NEW BERLIN (WITI) -- Are you looking for work, or know someone who is? A New Berlin woman was excited when she was told she got the job -- so why did she have to call Contact 6?

Healthcare costs are out of control and sometimes, the weight of what you owe can be crushing. You look for any way out.

"I'm diabetic. I have a lot of medical bills, and that's really what's setting us back," Leah Ravichandran said.

Ravichandran didn't want to show her face on camera because she's worried about a man who called himself Adam Knox.

She agreed to be his personal assistant after finding his job listing on Craigslist.

"They were going out of the country and they would pay me $300 a week to run their errands, to pick up packages, to buy whatever they needed while they were out of the country," Ravichandran said.

Before Ravichandran could do the work, there was a change in plans.

"I never spoke to him. He just texted me," Ravichandran said.

He sent her a check for $1,900, and told her to deposit it and take out $300 for her payment -- and then send the rest through MoneyGram.

"I said 'you wanted me to run your errands, pick up your packages. I'm not really sure why you're asking this of me.' And he said there was an emergency. There was a young girl that was needing surgery and that's why the plans had changed," Ravichandran said.

Ravichandran opened up her heart, and in return, she got devastating news.

"Two weeks later, we got a letter from Landmark Credit Union stating that the funds were insufficient," Ravichandran said.

That means Ravichandran has to come up with $1,900 to pay the credit union back.

It's called the check over-payment scheme, and unfortunately, Contact 6 and the Better Business Bureau have seen people taken again and again by wiring the money.

"That may be a good service, but it's like handing cash to a total stranger. You have no way of getting your money back because anyone can pick up a money gram at the other end," Randall Hoth with the Wisconsin BBB said.

It's an awful lesson to learn.

"I was looking because we needed the money. And for somebody to do this, it's heartless to me," Ravichandran said.

Contact 6 says people can be easily taken by this scam because they are able to take their part of the money out -- so the check must be good, right?

It can take up to two weeks for the financial institution to verify the funds.

What can you do to protect yourself from this scam?

Contact 6 says you should check out all potential employers online.

If you get a check from someone you've never met, wait to see it clear before spending or wiring money anywhere -- especially if it comes with an emotional lie.