9 Investigates: Queens student has warning for students searching for work

by: Peter Daut Updated:

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A student at Queens University was scammed for more than $2,000 after she said someone found her information through the school website.
 
She has a warning for other students, and the university is taking action.
 
Queens University junior Kenya Ramirez needed a summer job.
 
She decided to join the Service Referral List on the school's website, which helps students find part-time work.
 
Ramirez says she listed her name, cellphone number, email address and interest in babysitting.
 
“I have other friends who are on the list and they have babysitting jobs, so I was like OK let me try this,’” Ramirez said.
 
Several weeks later, the 20-year-old received a text message from someone asking if she wanted to babysit and for her resume.
 
Ramirez believes they found her through the list.
 
She then began an email exchange with someone named Sarah Williams, who claimed to live in Arizona and was about to move to Charlotte with her disabled son.
 
Ramirez said Williams emailed her a photo and other personal details, which made her believe she was dealing with a mother genuinely in need of help.
 
“She said 'OK. Well, I just want to make sure that when I get to Charlotte I want to make sure I have someone there to take care of my child because he's in a wheelchair,’” Ramirez said.
 
Williams told Ramirez she got the job, but needed a favor before the family moved to Charlotte.
The mother said her son needed a new electric wheelchair and sent Ramirez a check for $2,700 to help purchase it.
 
Ramirez deposited the check.
 
Williams then told her the wheelchair seller needed the money on prepaid cards, which Ramirez purchased.
 
But Williams’ check never cleared and the money Ramirez put on the cards was immediately taken out of her account.
 
Williams then disappeared, leaving Ramirez broke and humiliated for not recognizing the scam sooner.
 
“It’s just hard because it's a lot of money. My parents worked really hard for that money, and so did I,” she said.
 
Ramirez filed a police report.
 
She admits she made several mistakes, but she also worries that scammers might use the service referral list to target other students at Queens.
 
“I feel like anybody can get your information, and other students can suffer from this,” she said.
 
Channel 9 bought a copy of the list from Queens' website for $25.
 
It contained the names, phone numbers, email addresses and job interests for 66 students.
 
“Anytime that we have a student scammed, it's definitely concerning,” said Dean of Students John Downey.
 
Downey said the list has been used by thousands of students for decades and the school has never had a problem before.
 
“We're going to review everything as a result of this,” he said.
 
The list has a disclaimer that says the university does not "not claim responsibility or assume legal liability for the persons listed or services rendered."
 
Downey said students should always be skeptical, especially if something sounds too good to be true.
 
Ramirez has this advice for anyone searching for a job.
 
“If they ask for any money, don't give out your information just like that,” she said.