Priscilla Perez is facing one of the hardest times of her entire life alone.
Not only has her husband been deployed to Kuwait, but a few months ago, she lost her job.
"It was a big blow. In fact, I was depressed for several weeks," she said.
Perez didn’t waste anytime, though.
She started applying for jobs online and updating her profile on popular job websites.
But as time went on, Perez started to panic.
"I’m getting scared. I’m getting really afraid if I don’t get something," she said.
In October, she did get something: An email from someone who appeared to be a manager with the Feed the Children organization.
He informed her that she’d been hired as a receptionist for Feed the Children.
"I was so excited about it. Being the big heart that I am, I was overjoyed just thinking of all the good things I could do," said Perez.
She said the manager emailed her a check for nearly $2,500.
She was asked to take pictures of the check and deposit it using her mobile banking app.
"He said I was going to purchase gifts and send money to orphanages," she said. "I got money orders, I put into their Wells Fargo account and it didn’t hit me until the next day."
The next day, Perez learned the check she deposited had bounced and the $2,500 she sent the so-called charity was long gone.
"I was so sad, depressed, crying. I couldn’t believe that I allowed myself to be scammed. That was all the money I had to survive. I just feel so stupid," she said.
But the real charity told NBC 5 Responds that Perez is not alone.
But over the last two years, they’ve heard from people in Texas, Georgia, Minnesota, North Carolina and Ohio who have fallen victim to this scam.
The scammers are even impersonating the charity’s board members to pull off this scheme.
Feed the Children said they’ve reported this scam to the FBI, Attorney General and the U.S. Postal Service, but they can’t seem to track the thieves down.
"Thinking about it after the fact, saying it out loud, you know, it definitely doesn’t make sense," said Perez.
She had to break the news to her husband that the little money she did have, is now gone.
"He was really mad at me because he's not in a position to help me right now. So he was really, really mad at me," she said.
Perez is now working to forgive herself and warn others, especially during the holidays.
"They pull on your heart strings and after the fact, you can’t go back," she said.
Feed the Children said they’re willing to offer Perez food from their food bank to help her through this tough time.
We reached out to her bank and they explained to us that fake check scams are on the rise, especially during the holiday season.
Here are my solutions to avoid the scam:
Don't deposit a check from a complete stranger. If a check you deposit turns out to be a fake, you're responsible for repaying the bank.
Watch out for impostors. Scammers often pretend to be someone you trust, like a government official, a family member, or an employer.
Don't give out personal information. Keep in mind if your resume is online, your information is exposed to anyone.
Google a company or product name with words like "review," "complaint" or "scam." If nothing comes up, give the company a call and ask questions.
Remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.