While the majority of online classified advertising users, such as those on Craigslist, are trustworthy, a significant number of people are using this service to commit fraud.
Scammers use the preface of selling or buying cars, event tickets, personal items, or renting apartments. The Police Departments regularly field calls from people who have been victims, as well as from those who didn’t fall for dubious requests to cash checks or money orders or to send payment in advance.
Detectives want people to be aware of the following scams:
-- Someone sends you a check, cashier’s check or a money order for payment of an item they are buying from you. The payment is for more money than the agreed selling price and the purchaser contacts you and claims one of the following:
-- They accidentally sent too much money and ask you to cash the check or money order and wire them the extra funds.
-- They accidentally sent you their payroll check and ask you to cash the check and wire the extra funds to a different location where the mistake will be corrected.
--They accidentally sent too much money and ask you to wire the extra funds to a check cashing location in another state.
You are trying to buy an item. The seller:
-- Asks you to set up an online escrow account.
-- Asks you to send partial payment and the item will be sent and the remaining balance will be due upon receipt of the item.
You are offered a job with a non-local company:
-- A company representative says they will pay you to process payments from customers and to then forward the funds to the business.
How to avoid being a scam victim:
-- Always try to deal with local individuals when selling or buying items. Dealing with people face to face is generally a deterrent to being scammed.
-- Never provide personal financial information (eBay or PayPal info, checking account number, Social Security number, etc.)
-- Never cash personal checks, cashier’s checks, money orders, etc., unless the source is trustworthy and the funds are confirmed before you do so.
-- Be wary if the other party wants to use an escrow service such as BidPay, Squaretrade, or even PayPal.
-- Never send money through wire services unless you know for certain that the individual you are dealing with is trustworthy.