3OYS: Teenager almost falls for 'Nanny Scam'

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- School is out for the summer and that means a lot teenagers are looking to keep busy and make money at the same time.

For one 18-year-old who just finished high school, the perfect job, she thought, had fallen into her lap.

Like other teens, Tanikah Bright wanted a summer job and since she likes kids, one idea came to mind.

"I was online, and I was going to look and find a baby-sitting job," said the recent Paradise Valley High graduate.

Craigslist had an ad with what she thought was a good offer: a nanny for after-school pickup and light house work.

Bright read 3 On Your Side one of many emails she got from a man named Dan, whom she also spoke with on the phone and noticed his heavy foreign accent.

The man later sent her a picture saying his family was relocating from California to Phoenix, but Bright says things just didn't seem right.

"After I got the picture of the family, I’m like, this is probably a Google picture. I'm pretty sure I've seen this before," she said.

To her surprise, Bright got the job and was sent a check for $2,950. In return, she was supposed to deposit the check and then wire money.

"They said something about rental fees and stuff. I’m like, what are you talking about, rental fees? I’m not renting out nothing," she said.

Turns out, that fat check was mailed from San Mateo, Calif., but it had the address of New York-based Fordham University. And that signature looks nothing like the name of Dan.

3 On Your Side contacted Bank of America representatives, who agreed that Bright was most likely getting herself involved in a common scam.

Bright said, “I would've been in deep trouble for sure. I would've been paying the bank a lot of money."

Felicia Thompson is with the Phoenix Better Business Bureau and says Bright's job offer is part of something called the "over-payment scam," where a person like Bright deposits the check, sends out money, and then finds out later that the check is worthless. But by then, the money has already been wired to the scammer.

"Any time someone sends you a check, you don't know who they are, you don't know what the purpose is behind it ... you want to put your red flags up," Thompson said.

Fortunately, Bright knew the ordeal looked and felt suspicious right off the bat, so she never deposited that check or forwarded money anywhere.

"Lesson learned," she said. "Never look online for another baby-sitting job and don't give out my information freely."