3 On Your Side

College student taken in 'nanny scam'

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The scammer sent Markham a lovely photo of "his" family. (Source: 3TV) The scammer sent Markham a lovely photo of "his" family. (Source: 3TV)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Chandler Markham is a full-time college student and holds down a part-time job. When she decided to take on a second job, she went to Craigslist and came across an ad for a nanny.

"Well, I do have a lot of brothers and sisters.  So, I thought 'Why not?'" Markham remembers thinking.

Markham wrote to the person, saying she was interested in the job, and the guy emailed her right back.

"Hello, Chandler.  How was your night?  I hope you had a good night," the letter said as Markham read it to 3 On Your Side.

The guy went on to say that he's married and has a 3-year-old boy. He even emailed Markham a family photo and said they were all preparing to move to the Valley.

What really sealed the deal for Markham was that she would get paid $400 a week.

"I thought it was great," she said.  "Just one kid that I have to watch for $400 a week?"

It was pretty enticing money and a great opportunity.  But the icing on the cake was that the guy overnighted Markham a $2,000 check.  

It was her first week's pay in advance, and he said there was plenty left over to buy groceries to stock the family's kitchen just before they arrived in town.

Markham thought the situation sounded a little weird. She wanted to know why a complete stranger would trust her with so much money.

"I feel like you're about to scam me," she told the man. "He said, 'Why would I scam you? I am trusting you with this money,' he kept repeating. And I said it just feels like a scam."

Markham wound up depositing the check. The amount was reflected in her bank balance. She said it felt good to have all that money in her account.

RELATED: Consumer says scammers using 'electronic deposits' to prey on victims

But then, like she was instructed to do in another email, she immediately wired money to a contractor who supposedly was getting this family man's house move-in ready.

Markham said she spent $1,800, but she wasn't too concerned because the money was in her account.

Unfortunately, the check Markham deposited was worthless.  

By the time Markham's bank realized it a day or two later, the college student had already wired the scammer $1,800, wiping our her entire bank account.

That's when Markham realized there was no family. There was no 3-year-old boy to watch. And that wholesome family picture he sent? It's nothing more than an innocent family that the scammer copied and pasted from someone's social media account.

As for Markham, she has a strong warning for anyone who uses the Internet to look for a job.

"I'll never use Craigslist to look for a job again," Markham said.

3 On Your Side has a strong warning when it comes to wiring money to someone you don't know or have never met. Simply put, don't do it. If you're asked to wire or forward money, and you don't know the person, you're setting yourself up to become a victim.

Copyright 2015 3TV (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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