COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Tamie Kalish is the owner and founder of TS Roofing and Home Improvement in Columbus.
“I had a woman contact me,” Kalish said. “She said that she had a rental property here in Columbus, and she lived in Georgia. She wanted to know if I would go give her a bid on putting a new roof on her house.”
Kalish agreed, checked out the home, gave an estimate, and got verbal consent to move forward.
“And I said, ‘Well, I would need half down and then balance on completion of our job,’” Kalish said. “She said, ‘I’ll just send you the whole amount.’”
Kalish also said she warned her client about the possibility of added costs if her crew needed more supplies.
“So, she sent me, on the check, $800 overpayment,” Kalish said. “I put the check into my bank account. Check cleared, I went ahead and did my order, I got the schedule on the house to be done.”
But Kalish said an unexpected message from her client would quickly change her plans for the project.
“The next morning, she had text me and said, ‘I need you to send me back $2,000 of that money I sent you. My husband died at midnight last night.’ I said, ‘I can’t do that. I’ve already paid for your material,'” Kalish said.
But Kalish did offer to send back the overpayment amount, $800, in the form of two money orders to stay in “good faith” with her customer. Hours after Kalish put the money orders in the mail, though, the check she had deposited bounced, draining her account.
“I mean, I was in tears. I didn’t know what to do,” Kalish said.
Kalish contacted her bank, and a representative confirmed she was the victim of a fake check scam. The bank restored some of the funds, and Kalish worked with the post office to try to intercept the money orders. Unfortunately, they were unsuccessful.
“They got the money orders, and that’s where they got me,” Kalish said. “Altogether, it cost me $1,125.”
Kalish said the experience impacted her young business in more ways than one.
“It’s put me in the hole,” she said. “And if I can’t shake your hand and sign the deal, I won’t do another job for anybody.”
Kalish said she didn’t see this as a scam because the check she received was “cleared” by her bank. But according to the Federal Trade Commission, that doesn’t mean it’s a valid check. Fake checks can take weeks to be discovered.