By Sheriff Scott Henriod
Have you ever sold anything over the internet? If you did I hope that the transaction went flawless. Dealing with a prospective buyer that you have never seen or met can be a little bit intimidating. It leaves you wondering if the person is trying to take advantage of you by scamming you out of the item you are trying to sell.
Over the last few weeks the Sheriff’s Office has seen a spike in internet sale scams. The scam goes something like this. You post your item on line to sell. You are contacted by an interested buyer who wants to purchase the item. The buyer sends you a check in the mail for the item. When you receive the check you realize that the check exceeds the amount you and the buyer agreed on. The buyer tells you to deposit the check and send the rest of the money back to him along with the item you sold him. You deposit the check and send the extra money to the buyer along with the item you sold. Several days later you are contacted by your bank letting you know that the check you deposited was fraudulent and that you are accountable for the lost funds.
So not only did you lose the item you sold, but you are also out the amount of money you sent to the buyer. Once that transaction has taken place the buyer of the item just disappears never to be heard of again.
Several things to keep in mind when going through this process. First, you can always contact the bank that the check is drafter out of to verify the account. Second, if you receive a check that is over the agreed upon amount than I would say it’s fraudulent and to discontinue the transaction.
Remember its buyer beware, but in this case it’s also seller beware.