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Check Scam Still Operating at Craigs List Site

Fraudsters are still running the check scam on the Craig's List site, so consumers should be aware. A coworker, Peter, shared with me his experience which is instructive.

A person named "Phil" replied to Peter's ad about the furniture Peter was selling (for about $150). Peter came to me because Phil's e-mail reply seemed not quite right (typos and all):

"I really appreciate your response to my inquiry. Im interested in buying the Item from you. I would love to come and check it myself but I just got >married and im presently on my honeymoon trip to Hawaii with my wife.I would love a surprise change of furniture in our home on our return.Pls do withdraw the advert from Craigslist as i dont mind adding $20 for you to do that, so i can be rest assured that the item is held for me. I should believe it is in good condition as stated. I will be making the payment via a Check, which my secretary will mail to you. I'll be picking the item from you with the aid of my mover. My Mover will be coming to pick it from you once the Check has been cashed. Pls I will need both your full name and physical address along with your phone number to issue out the payment.
Thanks,
Phil"

Is Phil a scammer? It's a little hard too tell at first, but the above e-mail had some clues. A person really interested in the furniture would come buy and look at the furniture before offering payment; and perhaps negotiate the final price (if the furniture had some dings or tears). Phil was operating without seeing the furniture.

Peter was understandably uncomfortable with giving Phil his address information, but he wanted to sell the furniture. Phil and Pete traded a couple more e-mail messages (Peter's attempt to determine Phil's true level of interest), and Phil ultimately sent a check via FedEx -- for $2,600 and made out by the American Math Society, a real organization.

Correctly, Peter started watching his credit reports for any irregularities, placed Fraud Alerts on his credit reports, and contacted both FedEx and the American Math Society (AMS). Both organizations know about the scam. So far, nobody can find Phil.

According to the About Scams page at the Craigslist site, the check scam works like this:

"Most scams involve one or more of the following: inquiry from someone far away, often in another country; Western Union, Money Gram, cashier's check, money order, shipping, escrow service, or a "guarantee"; inability or refusal to meet face-to-face before consummating transaction"

Here's the payoff part of the scam:

"A distant person offers a genuine-looking (but fake) cashier's check... value of cashier's check often far exceeds your item - scammer offers to "trust" you, and asks you to wire the balance via money transfer service; banks will often cash these fake checks AND THEN HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE WHEN THE CHECK FAILS TO CLEAR, including criminal prosecution in some cases!"

Is the $2,600 check real? Of course not. At some point, Phil would have asked Peter via e-mail to wire him money covering the different between the bogus check amount and the price of Peter's furniture; and Phil would have quickly disappeared. Peter would have been stuck with a bogus $2,600 check, bounced-check fees by his bank, and out $2,400 (the money wired to Phil for the difference between the bogus check amount and the value of Peter's used furniture).

But, by being alert with some healthy skepticism, Peter avoided all of this and didn't get scammed. A word to the wise: fraudsters attempt this check scam with other organizations' names besides the AMS; on other online-ad sites besides Craig's List, and on job search sites; and fake parking ticket scams. So, be alert and warn your family, friends, and neighbors.

Comments

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Nersa

Thanks for getting back to me, just so you know I'm okay with the
condition and the price, I'm ready for its purchase and I'm willing to
add an extra $20 so as to have it kept in my favor. My form of payment
will be by Check and it will be send via USPS 1-2days delivery. I'll
be responsible for the pick-up and the movers/pick up money will be
included in your payment so as to avoid delay and to enable movers to
schedule an appropriate time for the pick-up at your location after
the check is been cashed as I have other properties to be moved
alongside yours. I would have really loved to come for the viewing but
due to my work frame it just won't fit in my schedule but more
pictures will be deeply appreciated. Kindly get back to me with your
full name, address, and your cell and land line so as to make out the
payment to you ASAP. Many thanks .. HAVE A GOOD DAY


Love it dont they all sound the same ?? M***********!

S Hall

I just got this one:


Dillion Rose upslabels4dank@gmail.com

11:57 AM (22 minutes ago)

to me

Thanks for the prompt response to my mail.I will be buying the item
from you so please kindly withdraw the advert from CL and i will be
paying you via bank certified check from my Bank and the payment will
be delivered to you via United Parcel Service (UPS or FED EX) and i
will like you to get back to me with the following information to
facilitate the mailing out the check to you... kindly get back to me
with the...

Name to be on the payment...........
Home address...........
City..............
State...........
Zip Code..............
Cell phone #................

I will make arrangements for the pick up as soon as you have your
money I am completely satisfied with the advert and the payment will
be delivered within 2-3 working days.** I use a hearing impaired
phone# and will receive your calls via email ** N.B UPS and FED EX
does not deliver to a P.O box addresses.

Jeff

Yes Just today I had this idiot try the exact same $HIT on my CL listing. He called himself Larry in my E-mail. Watch out for this one!!


From: larry silva
Sent: Thursday, August 9, 2012 3:03 PM

Thanks for writing back, I'm okay with the condition, the price and I'm ready for the purchase. I'm willing to add an extra $30 so as to have it reserved in my favor. I would have loved to come for the inspection but due to my work frame it just won't fit in my schedule but more pictures will be deeply appreciated. Payment will be sent to you inform of Check and I wouldn't want you to be surprise to have some excess funds on the money that will be mailed to you b'cos i will need your assistant by helping me to send the remaining balance of funds that will be on the check to the movers so as to avoid delay and to enable movers to schedule an appropriate time for the pick-up at your location after the check is been cashed as i have other properties to be moved alongside yours. Kindly get back to me with your Full name, Mailing address (Include Apt or Unit number if available) and Phone number so as to make out the payment to you ASAP. Kind Regards

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