FindLaw's Common Law

Consumer protection legal news from FindLaw.com.




November 2014

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
            1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30            

FindLaw Blogs


FindLaw Blotter
Free Enterprise
Injured
Law & Daily Life


If you're looking for information on common law marriage, please visit the Common Law Marriage section on FindLaw.

« Chrysler Recalls: Mirror-Light Fires, Ignition-Switch Problems | Main | Safest Used Cars for Teens: IIHS Issues Top Picks »

Beware ‘Check Overpayment’ Scams When Selling Online

It's a classic online scam: A buyer who lives far away sends a check for more than the asking price, usually followed by a request for some of the money back.

When unsuspecting sellers play along, they almost always end up getting burned when it's discovered that the check is fake and the money is long gone.

Craigslist has become especially fertile ground for scammers employing this method. In one recent case, a Colorado woman selling her car Craigslist was contacted by an out-of-town buyer who sent her a check for more than the asking price, purportedly to "hold the car." The woman figured out she was getting scammed when she tried to cash the check and found out it was fake, Colorado Springs' KKTV reports.

A Fake-Check Checklist

According to the Federal Trade Commission, the woman in this case was lucky. Often it's not until several days or weeks after the check is deposited that a victim discovers the check is no good. By then, any money the victim has "refunded" or any items that have been shipped or sold to the scammer are long gone.

What can you do to prevent being victimized by these check scams? Here are a few tips:

  • Never accept checks for more than the asking price. This should be a red flag. Scammers are great at crafting legitimate-sounding stories, but you should be firm in only accepting checks for the proper amount.
  • If you're going to accept checks, ask for a check from a local bank. Dealing with a local bank will allow you to visit the branch in person to find out if the check is real.
  • Never wire bank funds, for any reason. If a buyer asks you to wire back any portion of the sale price, you are almost certainly being scammed. Stop the transaction immediately.

What to Do If You've Been Scammed?

If you believe you've been or are being scammed, you should immediately contact your state's attorney general's office. You can also file a complaint with the FTC using the agency's online complaint assistant.

Related Resources:

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451609d69e201a511e1856c970c

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Beware ‘Check Overpayment’ Scams When Selling Online:



Subscribe



Archives




Common Law Vanguard Panel

The following firms have assisted the FindLaw editorial team in identifying emerging trends in consumer protection law and topics of importance to readers of this blog: