NEW YORK - We have seen this happen to many sellers anxious to unload everything from a motorcycle to baby furniture on Craigslist. A buyer texts or emails with an offer to buy your stuff. You're happy, but what you don't realize are scammers are trolling around simply looking for sellers to swindle.
They see your ad, offer to buy it, and you accept the offer. You get a check in the mail and the buyer instructs you to cash it. But many times the check is for more than the item you are selling.
So either they'll ask you to give the difference in cash to the movers picking up your item, who are actually part of the scam. Or, the scammers ask you to wire the difference to a third party via Western Union to pay for some sort of shipping or delivery fee.
Then what happens is usually about two weeks after the check cleared, the bank finds it's a counterfeit and asks for the entire amount back. And you'll be out the money and maybe the item you wanted to sell.
The big takeaway here, when selling on Craigslist, deal only with local buyers and face-to-face.
Only accept cash. Never allow any types of checks as payment. We've seen cashier's checks and even money orders can be forged.
If a buyer asks for your bank account for a wire transfer, just say no. If you hand over your bank account number to a crook, this will give them access to your account and even bigger troubles.
And remember, if a seller or buyer wants to use Western Union that's usually a sign of a scam. Happy and safe selling!
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