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Craigslist Scams: Four Ways to Protect Yourself
Remember, there is no legitimate reason why anyone would give you a check and ask you to wire money to them in return for any transaction, including an online purchase.
If you have questions or think you have received a counterfeit check, call our Fraud Prevention Department at 608-232-5000 or 800-533-6773.
What happens when you attempt to sell an item on the internet and a buyer tries to scam you?
Recently, counterfeit Wisconsin Department of Revenue checks have been used by at least one "purchaser" to pay for items sold through Craigslist. The fraudulent purchaser sends a check to the seller in an amount that is greater than the selling price. The purchaser asks the seller to promptly deposit the check and to send the extra amount back to the purchaser.
The check sent to the seller ultimately bounces, and the seller is the person who ends up losing money. The financial institution that cashes or deposits the counterfeit check has no liability for the scam.
Recognizing a Scam
The best way to avoid fraudulent situations like this is to be able to recognize scams and avoid them.
The chances that you are involved in a fake check scam are very high if:
- Someone sends you a check for more than the amount you're owed and asks you to wire money to them in return.
- You've only ever communicated with the buyer by email or phone and you've never met with the buyer face-to-face before finalizing the transaction.
- You are asked to lie about the circumstances of a check you receive, or you are pressured to act quickly.
- The name of the check issuer seems at all odd, or if you receive a business check from a business or individual account that is different from the person buying your item.
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