Monday, December 23, 2013

Beware of Scam Artists on Craigslist!


By Manfried Rieder Starhemberg

Nancy and I recently put up a vintage car for sale on Craigslist. The price was $ 3,500.- and within a few days we were contacted by a buyer from Massachussets who asked us to open a Paypal account so that he may send us the money immediately. We did so and sent him an invoice. Within a few hours we received a Paypal confirmation that the money had been deposited in our account. When I checked my Paypal balance, there was so such deposit. The "buyer" had faked a whole list of Paypal notices and what initially alerted us what that the language was grammatically somewhat questionable, something that never happens on Paypal. So I contacted Paypal and they told me that the guy was a fraud artist. The clincher was that he had "overpaid" us and wanted us to send him the amount of the over payment immediately via Western Union money transfer. Not this old guy!
Anyhow - this was the first one.
Last week another "buyer" wrote to us and told us that he would send a check immediately but would make it out to a larger amount (see check above) so that I could send a cash-withdrawal to his "Shipping Company" after I had deposited the check. The shipping company is a woman with the name Shauna Rogers in Topeka, Kansas, no other information given.
When I got the check this morning I called Maida International and they told me that - as I had assumed, this is a fake check and that they had about 20 inquiries of the same nature within the last week alone but that the police claims to be powerless to do anything until someone is actually dumb enough to send those people money. Sadly, there are probably people out there gullible enough to do so and when the fake check bounces, they are screwed and could possibly even be prosecuted for tendering a forged check if they already spent the money and have no way to repay the bank. The bank does not give a hoot about the fraud perpetrated on you - CAVEAT!
So watch out when dealing with people on Craigslist - this seems to be a very common kind of internet fraud these days.

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