Hi everyone. In March 2018, I fell victim to an employment scam on Craigslist that left me with a $3.5k debt I “owed” to my bank. I made a job post advertising my tutoring services and a scammer responded to me, claiming that they wanted tutoring for their “daugther”. They offered to pay me beforehand but gave me a very large check that was much higher than my pay, in which they wanted me to deposit it and wire transfer most of the money to them so they could “pay” their “nanny” because somehow they couldn’t do it themselves. In retrospect, it was incredibly suspicious but being naive, I was deceived into depositing the check and resending most of the money, just before U.S. Bank bounced the check and left me with a negative balance of $3.5k on my checking account.
I filed a police report and a fraud report to U.S. Bank. The bank concluded that I was responsible for the negative balance and that I had to pay up, according with their Terms and Conditions, even though I was scammed. (Ironically, the police told me that there was absolutely nothing they could do for me and recommended that I demand relief from U.S. Bank). The bank was essentially victim-blaming me for money that I never actually used (because I was tricked into transfering it to the scammer). I consulted several consumer lawyers in my area but they couldn’t help me either, saying that what U.S. Bank was doing was technically legal.
I first agreed to pay back the money by making minimum payments, but soon after I couldn’t keep up because of a new job and move. So, on Sept. 2018 I stopped making payments to U.S. Bank, which resulted in my U.S. Bank savings and checking account closing and having the debt sent off to a collections agency. Interestingly, I never received a collections letter, call or email about the debt up until now, so I haven’t filed a General Debt Dispute yet. I’ll wait until I actually receive a message from them to file the dispute.
I admit that I should’ve known better and not fall for something so stupid, and now I know how to protect myself moving forward (funny enough, I ran into another employment scammer a few months after, but that’s another story). But I will never forgive U.S. Bank for blaming the victim, and I wonder how many thousands of other scam victims across the country are being punished by their banks with something that they do not actually owe.
Has anyone here fell victim to a similar scam, or know someone who fell victim? Does anyone here have debt that’s a result of scams?