How the scam works:
Many people try to make some extra money to supplement their income. Several advertise their services on message boards. They receive legitimate offers, and make the extra cash they need. But sometimes these ads are answered by someone attempting to bilk money out of the person who needs it most.
The Cleaning Services scam preys on those trying to make some money. The scammer will contact the victim, telling her they will soon move to her town and would like a cleaning service of the apartment that was rented and they're about to move in. 'We would like to have it clean on the 1st of next month', might say the request to the cleaner, who let' say charges $400. The scammer will begin building a relationship with the victim before the actual services are rendered.
Then the scammer, after several phone conversations and email exchanges during which time they have gained the confidence of their victim, send the victim a money order for $1400, 'accidentaly'. They ask the victim to deposit the money order in their bank account, keep $400, and send $1000 to a moving company for them. The moving company would be the one that will bring their stuff in.
Well, the money order is a fake and they are out $1000 of their own hard earned money. Also, there is no moving company either. Everything is made up. When they try to contact the scammer the phone is disconnected, the email is cancelled and the moving company is non-existent.
How to avoid:
It is never a legitimate request when someone asks you to accept a money order for more than you need, then wants you to send the overage to a “company” or other entity for them. This request should be a huge red flag for a potential target. Also, just because you have spoken with someone multiple times does not mean you know them and can trust them. Scammers are excellent at getting close to people and gaining their confidence in a short period of time, so beware.
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