PORT RICHEY, Fla - Julie Quillian spent decades working in the financial field and never thought she would be scammed out of her own money.
The 55-year-old lives in New Port Richey and is disabled. She lives on a fixed monthly income and has a strict budget.
With the new year came the idea and hope of finding a way to earn extra cash. Like many people, she turned to the internet to find work.
"I just wanted to find a way to make some extra cash," explained Quillian.
Quillian's internet search took her to the employment website Snagajob.com.
Searching through the listings, Quillian came across an ad looking for individuals willing to have their cars wrapped with a company's logo or slogan. It is something Quillian knew she could do and be successful at.
"In this day and age I see it all the time," she said, referencing energy drink advertisements on cars she has seen on the road.
The employer, Prime Controls Incorporated, claimed it would pay Quillian to have her car wrapped with advertisements for a car company. In a sense, her car would become a driving billboard. When Quillian accepted the job, she received a check via FedEx from the alleged Ohio based company for $1,250.
She immediately deposited the check and followed the employer's instructions.
"I was directed to put it into my bank account, keep $400 for myself and take the rest of the cash and Western Union it," she explained.
Before the check cleared, Quillian, wanting to be a good employee, wired the money to a woman in Washington D.C. Then, her bank called to tell her the check deposited bounced.
Quillian called the company. The person she spoke with over the phone apologized and sent a new check in the mail. That check also turned out to be no good.
"I am in the hole now $980," Quillian said.
Quillian tried phoning the company again. Only this time, both numbers were disconnected and no one would return her emails.
She tried tracking the sender's address of the FedEx package only to find out it was a doctor's office in yet another state. The doctor was not involved of or aware of the scam.
"Nobody can do anything to help me. It is my loss," she said.
Quillian filed a report with the Pasco County Sheriff's Office and the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center at http://www.ic3.gov.
Quillian, who requires special medications, is not sure how or if she will be able to pay her rent this month. She is now looking to sell personal possessions on Craigslist to make up for her loss.
She is not alone when it comes to this scam. Hundreds of people across the country are reporting similar issues according to the Better Business Bureau. Not only are fraudulent employers listing car wrapping opportunities on job websites, they are are soliciting business vie email.
The BBB said a red-flag warning on this is a request to forward the money to a third-party provider. Refuse to forward funds to a third party for shipping, services or other reasons, according to the BBB. They buyer can work with the third-party directly.
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Another warm and humid day with a chance for mainly inland afternoon storms.