Avoid becoming a victim of the latest online auction scam

By: Sam Dick - Email
By: Sam Dick - Email

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Ebay and Craigslist are just a few examples of auction sites offering a huge variety of items and services. The sites are also the perfect place to run a scam. Most notably, counterfeit check scams.

Here's how the scam works:

"They get a response via email by someone that says they are very interested in purchasing the item," says Kim Gordon, a U.S. Postal Inspector. "This is our suspect. They told them they are going to send them a check. They're going to get a check in the mail."

When the seller receives the check it is for more than the price of the item being purchased; sometimes hundreds more.

"The suspect calls them again," Gordon says. "And says 'I sent you hundreds of dollars more - I really need that money to go somewhere else. Would you please deposit the money in your bank account?'"

Then, victims are asked to wire the extra money to an address.

"They find out later from the bank that it was a bad check. It has bounced because it was a counterfeit check. And they are on the hook for all of that money," Gordon says.

Postal inspectors say consumers need to proceed with caution when using auction sites.

"There is a very large warning that appears on Craigslist that the minute you submit ad placement. The word warning is there and it says 'be weary of foreign responders to your ad.'"

Postal inspectors say it's important to remember that there is no reason for anyone to send extra money for an item. It is a sure sign you may be a target of a crime.

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