KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – People everyday turn to the virtual garage sale website, Craigslist, to buy and sell products; it’s easy.
With every internet invention that makes lives easier, comes the inevitable opportunity for scam artists who take advantage of the public platform.
WATE 6 On Your Side consumer reporter Don Dare reminds you that being sent a cashier’s check is the first sign of an online scam.
The Knoxville woman who called WATE said she was wise this time, she wasn’t going to be fooled a second time.
There is a popular saying that goes like this:
Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.
After being tricked in the same way again; that’s wise advice to follow.
One of the top items on Craigslist is buying and selling furniture.
“Within like five minutes, I got responses. Six of them.”Joan Lackey
Joan Lackey says her cell phone was filled with requests from people wanting to buy furniture she had posted for sale on Craigslist last month.
“Every one one of them wanted me to have movers pick it up. Every one of them. It said, we definitely want your furniture, we will send you a check.”Joan Lackey
She said one of the potential buyers, Alvaro Alvares, was really interested.
“I said, no check, cash only. So, they said, we will send you a cashier’s check. I said, all right, I got it, I sold it.Joan Lackey
But when the check arrived, her excitement didn’t last long.
“It says cashier’s check right on it. So, that means it would immediately clears. It’s for $1,000 more than what my furniture was selling for. So, I’m like, they trust me to give their movers $1,000? Something is wrong here.”Joan Lackey
Joan was immediately suspicious because she had been scammed before two years ago.
“Once, I bought a motor home on Craigslist for $2,500, and that was a steal. So I jumped right on it, when I called them they told me I had to send Amazon cards.”Joan Lackey
She purchased Amazon cards totalling $2,500. Scammers also request other kinds of money cards.
Lackey never got that motor home, never got her money back, and it wasn’t going to happen again with this fake check.
“It only had 92,000 miles. It was garage kept.”Ethan Cunningham
“Its got no liens or loans on it, the price was reduced to $1,800. I thought it was too good to pass up. It was an awesome deal.”Ethan Cunningham
What made it sweeter is that Julie claimed in a letter that she was a soldier. Julie messages saying she couldn’t meet with Cunningham.
She told him to go buy gift cards.
“I had to take pictures of the gift cards and receipts and send them through what I thought was eBay.Ethan Cunningham
Ethan never got the 4-Runner, the picture had been cloned.
Julie the soldier, never existed.
Craigslist has these warnings to avoid being scammed. Never pay people you haven’t met in person, and beware of offers involving shipping.
Deal with locals in your area to avoid shipping scams, and ever use money cards or Western Union to send money.
Craigslist wants you to contact them if you have been scammed or suspect a hoax.
“Every age group gets scammed. It doesn’t matter if you are 20 or 65.”Joan Lackey
Lackey didn’t fall for the offer sent by the scammer. If you get a suspicious cashier’s check. Follow her advice.
“Do not cash their checks.”Joan Lackey
When it comes to Craigslist be careful doing business with anyone in another state or country.
Never do business with anyone who makes a lot of excuses about why they can’t meet you in person.
Scammers frequently lie about being in the military, taking care of a sick elderly relative or even being a missionary.
Don’t believe their stories.
Craigslist states on their support page that if you only deal locally with people you can meet in person, you will avoid 99% of scams.