Craigslist Overpayment Scam
We receive a steady stream of complaints from citizens regarding online scams that they have fallen prey to. Many have the same recurring themes. One of the main recurring themes in these scams is as follows:
The scam artist overpays the victim via a check for some type of good or service. The victim deposits the check into his bank and agrees to refund the scam artist the difference. After refunding the scam artist the difference, the victim finds out that the check bounced and he loses whatever money he sent to the scam artist.
This scam comes in different flavors but the basic premise is often as described above. Sometimes the scam artist claims the victim won a contest but has to refund a processing fee. Sometimes the scam artist agrees to buy something the victim legitimately has listed for sale online, overpays with a fake check, and requests a refund of the overpayment. In all cases, this is a scam.
We received one such report yesterday. A citizen had his trailer listed for sale on Craigslist. He was contacted by a scam artist who sent the victim a check for more than double the victim’s asking price. The victim deposited the check and refunded the scam artist the difference. The check then bounced and the victim lost his money.
Please be mindful of all internet transactions completed through unverified payment means. If someone agrees to send you a check for more than you are asking on something you have for sale, it’s more than likely too good to be true.