Posted Friday, November 19, 2010 in
The holiday shopping season will be in full gear this time next week, but it's not always the shopper that needs to be wary. This week, we received a concerned email from a local consumer who had placed an ad on Craigslist to sell her furniture. Someone had inquired about her ad, but unfortunately was too busy to come by in person to pick it up and wanted instead to send a check to pay for the furniture. Sounds innocent enough right? Here is where it gets interesting...
The payment I will be sending you will be of an excess. This you will give to
the cargo company when they contact you for the pickup. All you need to do is
to get the payment verified in your bank and faithfully deduct your own money
as soon as you have the cash and send the remaining to the cargo company for
them to come for the pickup. Please get back to me if you are okay with this
and I will implore you to remove the ads off craigslist because I really want
to purchase this asap."
This scenario is known as an overpayment scam. The check that will be
sent is phony, so if the consumer had deposited it into her bank account
and then withdrawn the extra, she would have been out the excess as well
as any additional fees from her bank once the check came back as fake. This
is why BBB always recommends dealing locally on Craigslist whether you
are the buyer or the seller. This way you can meet in person to complete the
transaction. Luckily this consumer was savvy and never went through the
process and we give her a Gold Star for that.