Often I will remind you about particular types of scams I have described previously because they continue to victimize many people. Today’s Scam of the day involves a scam that commonly is used by scammers in regard to Craigslist ads as well as in many other instances as well. The basis of the scam is that after you have placed an online advertisement, you are contacted by someone who answers your ad and sends a check for more than the amount that you are owed and then, under a variety of pretenses, asks you to deposit the check and wire him or her back the difference. This is always a scam.
The check sent by the scammer looks legitimate. Unfortunately, the check is counterfeit. Often in these circumstances the check will appear to be a bank check or a certified check, but it is just a forgery. Sometimes, the sellers will think they are being prudent by waiting a few days for the check to clear only to learn later that it can take weeks for a check to fully clear and the provisional credit that you are given by your bank after a few days does not mean that the check was legitimate. Once the check is discovered to be a forgery the provisional credit is taken away by the bank and the victim of the scam has lost the money he or she wired to the scammer from his or her bank account.
Whenever you are paid for something that you are selling by a check for more than the amount that is due and the payment comes with a request for you to send the difference back to the buyer, you should consider this a sign that it is a scam. Also, anytime you are paid by a check you should wait for the check to fully clear before turning over the sold goods. Even if the check appears to be a bank check or a certified check, it may well be a forgery so you should contact your bank to make sure that the check has fully cleared before you consider the payment to have been made. Regardless of the excuse that may be given to you as to the reason for payment by way of a check for more than what is owed, you should be suspicious. Finally, always be wary when someone requires you to send a payment wired by Western Union or wired from your bank because once those payments have been made, it is impossible to get the money back.
For those of you receiving the Scam of the day through an email, I just want to remind you that if you want to see the ever increasing list of Coronavirus scams go to the first page of the http://www.scamicide.com website and click on the tab at the top of the page that indicates “Coronavirus Scams.” Scamicide was recently cited by the New York Times as one of three top sources for information about Coronavirus related scams.
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