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Apartment Cleaner Overpayment Scam

by Brett M. Christensen

Email offers the recipient a part time job cleaning an apartment for a quite generous fee. The cleaner is advised to deduct this fee from a cheque made out for a considerably larger amount and then wire the remainder to the landlord via a money transfer service.

Brief Analysis:
The supposed cleaning job is an attempt by criminals to convert stolen or fraudulent cheques into cash. Those who take on the “job” and process the cheque as instructed will find that the cheque turns out to be stolen or fake. Police investigations may eventually lead to the innocent “cleaner” who processed the bogus cheque well after the criminals responsible have absconded with the bulk of the proceeds in untraceable cash.

Subject: A Cleaner Needed !!!


I am looking for a cleaner to clean my apartment, if you are interested in doing a part-time job( House cleaning) please let me know so that you can start work as soon as possible. I’ve acknowledged your resume for my review and consideration, What days of the week are you available to do the cleaning starting from next week? The Apartment is a Duplex unit that needs to be cleaned, All features needed to be clean are listed below:

1-Vacuum floors
2-Dust all surfaces
3-Wipe all surfaces
4-Clean floors
5-Consolidate / take out trash
6-Make beds
7-Fold clothes
8-Organize displaced items
9-Change sheets
10-Scrub/Clean Shower/bathtubs
11-Clean Vanity
12-Sink and BackSplash
13-Clean Toilets
14-Wash Floor and Tiles
15-Deodorize Bathroom
16-Clean all Dishes
17-Clean Fridge
18-Clean Stove surface and microwave
19-Clean Counters
20-Clean Kitchen Sink

Also i would like you to know that all the Tools and materials needed for the job to make it perfectly o.k. will be provided, no need for cleaning supplies, So you don’t have to be bothered. I’m willing to pay $500 for the cleaning of my new Apartment, I think this is a reasonable price since it’s just a 5 bed room apartment, it shouldn’t take more than a day or 2 for you to have the Apartment cleaned. You will be provided with the date and time by my Landlord, as soon as I’m done making payments to you for the cleaning. My Landlord will be taking you to the Apartment in person immediately i contact him that i have finally paid for the cleaning service.

I want the cleaning done before i get back to the States, I already made proper arrangements on how the payment will get to you and also the keys to the apartment, My Landlord will be showing you the Apartment so the locations shouldn’t be a problem, He will be there to help you in all you need. I will instruct my client to issue and mail out to you an overdraft payment so you can deduct the $500 for cleaning of the Apartment, then you will have the remaining funds wired to the Landlord of the apartment via Western Union or Money Gram money Transfer, So My landlord can bring down the keys to you and he would be available when you are ready for the cleaning. The remaining funds you will be sending to the Landlord is the balance payment for the Apartment cause am just moving in, I’m only doing this because I’m presently out of the states for a Seminar and which am of the Facilitator, and i want things to go smooth and perfect before my return.

If you think you can handle this cleaning and all the details as explained, kindly get back to me with the following information:
(1) Full Name
(2) Mailing Address, included with your city, state and zip code… No please
(3) Your direct telephone number / Mobile Number
(4) Acceptance of my offer

NOTE: Don’t forget to get back with the required information so the payment can be mailed out to you soon, You will be deducting just $500 and the charges for the Western Union or Money Gram Transfer,after when you have the check cashed.

Hope to hear back from you soon.
Jerry Bobby.

Detailed Analysis:
At first take, this emailed “job offer” may sound like a good opportunity to make some extra money. The proposed fee of $500 for the cleaning of an apartment may seem quite generous given the amount of work that would actually be required to complete the listed tasks.

Thus, the offer may seem very attractive, especially for those who are unemployed and in need of work.

However, the supposed “job offer” is, in fact, part of a scheme designed to launder the proceeds of crime. There is no cleaning job, and the situation described in the email is a fictional cover story used to trick victims into inadvertently serving the needs of criminals and thieves. A person who accepts the job offer and replies with the requested information will soon receive a cheque for an amount considerably greater than the specified cleaning fee of $500. The “worker” will be instructed to cash the cheque, or process it through his or her bank account, deduct the $500 fee and then wire the remaining funds to a specified recipient via a money transfer service. However, the cheque will turn out to be stolen or forged and investigations are likely to lead police directly to the person who accepted the bogus cleaning job. The victim may be totally unaware that he or she has been roped into a criminal scheme until the police come calling. Nevertheless, the victim will have to convince police of his or her innocence or risk fraud or theft charges. And, in many cases, once the bank discovers that the deposited cheque is stolen or fake, the transaction may be reversed, thereby depleting the victim’s own funds or overdrawing the account.

The scammers attempt to make the offer seem more legitimate by promising that the “landlord” will meet the cleaner at the apartment so that he or she can gain access and perform the required tasks. However, the scammers are careful to point out that this meeting will only take place after the cleaner has received the cheque, deducted the “cleaning fee” and wired the remaining amount back to the “landlord”. In reality, once the victim has processed the cheque and wired the funds, the criminals operating the scam are likely to disappear without trace. At least until the police arrive, the victim will be left scratching his or her head, wondering why he or she has been paid for a job but has not received any word on how to access the apartment to actually carry out the work.

When seeking new victims for such job scams, the criminals often target people who have posted resumes or “work-wanted” advertisements on job-related websites. In other cases, they randomly blast out bogus “job offer” emails to thousands of email addresses in the hope that one or more recipients will fall for the ruse and apply for the “job”. Internet users should be very cautious of any job offers or offers to purchase items advertised online that involve sending a cheque or money order for more than the specified amount. No legitimate transaction should require the job applicant or seller to deduct a specified amount from a cheque or money order and wire the remainder to a third party. Any such request should be treated with the utmost suspicion.

For more information about such scams, see:
Babysitting Overpayment Scam
Overseas Artist Job Offer Scam
Overpayment Cheque Scam
Payment Transfer Job Scam Emails – Laundering Scams

Cleaning Spray Bottles

Last updated: January 19, 2017
First published: March 11, 2010
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

Babysitting Overpayment Scam
Overseas Artist Job Offer Scam

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,