Online con artists are preying on students, luring them to Mexico with phony job offers
U-T San Diego tells the story of 18-year-old Nate Dirkmaat, who was on a semester break from Brigham Young University when he came across an ad on Craigslist that sounded like a great gig. Habitat for Humanity — the charity that builds affordable housing around the world — was paying $21.50 an hour for drivers. Dirkmaat could earn some cash and help people out at the same time.
On March 2nd, he set up a meeting at a coffee shop in Mission Valley, Calif., with the man who posted the ad. The man told Dirkmaat he’d have to go on a “tour” in Mexico first before getting hired. At that point Dirkmaat — who’d already handed over copies of his social security card, birth certificate, driver’s license and vehicle registration — got suspicious. He left the meeting and told his parents about it.
They called Habitat for Humanity, who confirmed it was all a scam. And not the first of its kind, either.
The representative told them a story of another young man who didn’t get suspicious until it was almost too late. He had driven down for the “tour” in Tijuana, where someone showed him the charity’s supposed home-building project. It must have been wholly unimpressive, because the young man suddenly got very worried. Something was off. He returned to his SUV — only to find a group of men preparing to strip it. According to U-T San Diego, the kid managed to jump back into the car, and he sped off.
Since then, the scam has morphed. Dirkmaat’s mother said she’s found ads with the exact same name and number for the Salvation Army.
There are some obvious lessons to learn from this story: Don’t go down to Tijuana for a Craigslist job offer that has nothing to do with Tijuana. And, for Christ’s sake, don’t hand over all your identifying information to a stranger you just met in a coffee shop. “They could totally open a credit card in his name,” Dirkmaat’s mother told U-T San Diego. That, or worse.
More Related Stories
- Teenagers care more about online privacy than you think
- The Maker kids are alright
- Radio host tweets rape joke, blames journalists for reporting on it
- Cyber attacks could cause the next world war
- Snapchat is secretly storing your photos
- Apple's biggest sin: Popularity
- Facebook's hate speech problem
- Amazon set to launch fine-art gallery
- Twitter torches Dan Brown's "Inferno"
- Looting in Oklahoma?
- Wikipedia cleans up its mess
- You are less beautiful than you think
- Should wunderkinds be allowed to drop out of high school?
- Don't cry climate-change wolf
- Apple uses foreign companies to avoid billions in taxes
- Gitmo hunger striker launches Twitter campaign
- How to screw up Tumblr
- Yahoo shells out $1.1 billion for Tumblr
- Chinese hackers resume attacks against U.S.
- Must-see morning clip: Facial recognition software identifies "faceprints"
- Facebook "like" on trial in Virginia
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11
Salon is proud to feature content from The Daily Dot, a paper of record for the World Wide Web reporting on the important and relevant topics for online communities.