Seller Beware…

This is a cautionary tale about bank fraud for anyone that sells things. (online or otherwise). A man sold a car online, the buyer sent a check for several thousand more than the buying price. He claimed it was to cover extra shipping costs and for the seller to just wire him the excess which turned out to be $5000. He felt a bit suspicious of the check and inquired a couple times if the check was ok, the teller confirmed that the check was fine.

While checking out his account online, he discovered the check WAS bad and the bank wanted him to replace the 5000 dollars. This is basically advance fee fraud. The “buyer” has a stolen check (or forged) with a good account number, there’s an initial attempt to see if the account is good for the funds, then the target sends the “excess” back before the fraudulent check is discovered. This is attempted quite often it seems (The details of this are remarkably similar to an event I was told of last fall regarding a client that was selling online.)

My basic thought is this… if there is anything strange about the payment, proceed with GREAT suspicion. I think in the case I was told of, they were overseas and wanted to purchase an item, they would send MORE than the amount required in a bank draft, but had a “friend” travelling in country that could pick up the item and the change…… this way they could transfer money to the “friend” at the same time. (Or something close). In that case, they contacted the FBI and it sounded like the fraudster got “stung”.

Seller Beware

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