Sunday, February 9, 2014

A Fridge Full of Money - Thanks to Craigslist

By Manfred Rieder
updated Jan. 29. 2017

I recently put up a vintage car for sale on Craigslist. The price was $ 3,500.- and within a few days I was contacted by a buyer from Massachusetts who asked us to open a Paypal account so that he may send me the money immediately. I did so and sent him an invoice. Within a few hours I received a Paypal confirmation that the money had been deposited in my 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 me 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" me and wanted me 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 me and told me 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 I called Maida International which supposedly had issued the check 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!
Now starts the fun part: I also had placed an advertisement offering to do manuscript editing or ghost-writing services and since then I had more than 40 "job offers" which all have one thing in common, the folks out there give me money up front, urge me to cash the check and immediately send all but $ 400.- or $ 600.- by Western Union to my "supplier" or others designated to provide me with things required to do the job. I have more than 30 checks decorating my refrigerator, my office and even hung some up in the work shop. Those checks are of course all counterfeit with the  logos from Wells Fargo, Chase, Bank of Montreal and other well known institutions brightly printed.

All the checks received are issued by well known companies who, when contacted, have confirmed that many other people had told them about this. Western Union has a very good site in which they try to advise people about those scams but sadly, for every hundred fake checks mailed out, there are about 10 percent of the populace who actually are dumb enough to deposit them according to the Internet Fraud Division of the Justice Department.
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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