7 On Your Side help recover student's money scammed in online job scheme

NEW CITY, New York (WABC) -- It's an enticing offer. Work from home and make good money.

But beware of scammers targeting job seekers online.

7 On Your Side helped one young man whose story can serve as a warning to others.

"It opens your eyes, it can happen to anybody," said Kevin Martinez, a 22-year-old from New City who has a full-time job but was looking for part time work to help pay for college. He wound up losing half his savings.

"It was all the money that's saved up for my tuition for the semester," he told 7 On Your Side. Kevin got conned by a common job scam. A man who called himself an artist posted an ad for a personal assistant on the job site Indeed.com, so Kevin applied.

He was then texted he got the job and received a check in the mail for $3870. Kevin was told to cash it at his bank, keep about $500 as a signing bonus and deposit the remainder into an account at a different bank.

The scammer demanded proof of the cash deposit, which Kevin did quickly at TD Bank.

But when he got home he ran right into his dad, a retired police detective. "I just became curious why is he up so early, why he left the house and came back so quick," said father Pete Martinez. "Kevin told me I got a job and I got a check and had to take the money out and put it another account, I just said get your shoes on right away, I knew he got scammed. I knew it right away he got scammed."

His instinct was correct - the check was a fake. So it was Kevin's own cash from his own checking account he unknowingly put in the fraudster's account. Father and son rushed back to the bank and luckily the funds hadn't moved.

"They immediately froze the assets. The money is still there," said the relieved dad. But a year later, the money was still frozen. TD Bank wanted a "Hold Harmless" letter from Chase, which Chase said it couldn't provide.

"We had all our documentation. This was a mistake and a scam but no one wanted to listen, to lift that one finger and help us out." said Martinez. So Pete put in a call to us, and within 24 hours TD Bank responded. "Everything suddenly changed!", Pete said as his son held the check.

He finally got his money back from the fake check he had cashed and deposited, $3300.

" I thought I was being scammed when I heard the news, but then I figured I had 7 On My Side! You guys got it done! " said the happy father and son. TD Bank said it was happy to help even though the scam victim wasn't one of their customers. There was no comment from Chase Bank.

The Big Takeaway

--Remember, deposited checks can clear, then bounce.

--Banks have NO deadline to recover money. They can take money from your account or even a joint account you share with someone - a week, a month or even a year after a check proves fraudulent.

--Never SEND MONEY to MAKE MONEY! If someone sends you a check for something you are selling or for "Secret Shopping" or a "Job" but wants you to send them back money, Don't Do It!


Do you have an issue with a company that you haven't been able to resolve? If so, 7 On Your Side wants to help you!

Email 7OnYourSideNina@abc.com, or contact Nina on her Facebook page or tweet her at Twitter @7OnYourSideNY! You can also call the 7 On Your Side Hotline at 917-260-7697 or fill out the form below.

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