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TAMARAC (CBS4) – A South Florida woman says she fell victim to an employment scam that cost her and her mother thousands of dollars.

Lindsey Margolis is telling her story to prevent others from becoming victimized as well.

“(The job) was like almost too good to be true,” Margolis said.

And she soon learned that the job was.

Margolis, 24, was desperate to find work. She says she posted her resume on a reputable employment website and received an offer to be a personal assistant based in the United States for an art gallery owner in Australia.

Margolis said the job seemed legitimate and the pay was good.

“He emailed me and said I’m going to be sending you some money orders,” she said. “I need you to cash these money orders and wire the money elsewhere.”

Margolis showed CBS4 News copies of the money orders. Each was for just under one-thousand dollars. The money orders were payable through Wells Fargo so Margolis used her mother’s bank account at Wells Fargo to cash the money orders and wire the money to a third party in Malaysia.

“A week later it turned out the money orders were no good,” Margolis explained.

The phony money orders left Margolis and her mom on the hook for more than 4-thousand dollars. While the person in Malaysia walked away with Margolis’ money.

Sergeant Jay Leiner with the Broward Sheriff’s Office says they are seeing this scam more and more often.

“If somebody’s asking you to send money back that should raise a red flag right away,” Leiner said. “A person needs to work. They think they’re doing the right thing and then they’ll go and get the checks and they want to send the money out. Then they become the victim not once but twice.”

Lindsey Margolis found a new job but she and her mom will be paying back Wells Fargo for awhile.

“I’m starting from scratch,” she said. “I’m starting from negative.”

Sgt. Leiner said it’s difficult to track down the bad guys because they are out of the country. He said the victim’s are on the hook for the money because even though the bank cashed the checks, the checks had not fully been cleared.

“Remember when you put a check in the account you’re telling the bank that we have a contract, this is good until it totally clears the system,” Leiner said. “Once it becomes counterfeit you’re held responsible.”

A spokesperson with Wells Fargo offered the following advice:

* Use common sense. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
* Don’t accept checks from people you’ve only met online.
* Don’t take a job where you are paid by facilitating money transfers through your bank account.


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