3 ON YOUR SIDE (3TV) - Brianna Paredes wanted to experience life away from her Phoenix home. So, she enrolled at Marquette University way up in Wisconsin.
"It's nice. I really like the campus and it's downtown,” Paredes told 3 On Your Side. “And it's like the heart of Milwaukee. There's a lot of restaurants, a lot of museums."
Like many college students, Paredes is back in Phoenix for the summer and needs a part-time job. That's the very reason she jumped online and started searching job recruiting sites and it didn't take long before she was contacted by someone who appeared to be from her university because of the email address.
"I looked up some jobs, and then I received an email. I looked at the email. I usually click the email to check who it's from, and it was from a professor. I'm guessing,” Paredes said.
In the email, the person wrote they needed a “personal assistant," and the pay wasn't bad. It was $400 a week.
"I would like, receive mail for them and pay bills for them and pay some books,” Paredes said. “I would then send some books to the bookstore and stuff like that."
Paredes accepted the job and once she did, she received a check. And the amount shocked her.
"It was for $3,550,” she said.
That $3,550 check appeared legit—it even had a hologram.
Paredes followed instructions by depositing the check into her bank account and then forwarded $3,100 to a so-called bookstore. She was also told to keep $400 for herself as payment.
"I was like, OK, that's kind of sketchy," said Paredes.
But that authentic-looking check turned out to be fake. Paredes' bank told her it was bogus, but by that time, she had already forwarded the money to the scammer and all $3,500 was drained from Briana's bank account.
"That's very stressful actually because I have to like pay my school bills and stuff," she said.
Unfortunately, Paredes had fallen for something called the "Job Scam."
In an email to 3 On Your Side, Marquette University says they are aware of the issue and that the scam “affected a handful of accounts on campus” when someone hacked a campus employee’s school email account and then posed as that person.
Jessie Frey was searching for a second job, trying to save up for the arrival of her bundle of joy. As the Mesa mom-to-be scrolled through opportunities on Indeed.com, she found a job to be an assistant for a local doctor.
The university went on to say that they "... quickly secured the compromised email account and was able to delete all scam emails from the server."
As for Paredes, the so-called "Job Scam" has been a costly lesson.
"It's very sad but it's very eye-opening. Like, it's a lesson learned for sure."
Remember, if you ever receive a check and after depositing it, you're told to forward money, you're getting yourself involved in a scam. Be careful.