Folks, if you're going to deal with sellers in a different geographical location, please familiarize yourself with the scams that are out there.
Here is a quick summary of some of the major scams out there and the warning signs to look for:
**counterfeit cashier's check [HTML_REMOVED] money transfer scams
1. distant buyer offers a high-value (but fake) cashier's check in exchange for your item**
-you receive an odd email (actual examples sent to craigslist sellers below) offering to buy your item site unseen.
-cashier's check is offered for your sale item, as a deposit for an apartment, or just about anything else.
-value of cashier's check often far exceeds your item - buyer asks you to wire the balance via money transfer service
-banks will often cash these fake checks AND THEN HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE WHEN THE CHECK FAILS TO CLEAR
-scam often involves a 3rd party (shipping agent, business associate owing buyer money, etc)
2. distant seller requests payment via Western Union or MoneyGram:
-seller often claims that an MTCN or confirmation code is needed before he can withdraw your money - this is FALSE, once you've wired money, it is GONE.
-common items currently: laptops, plasma TVs, cell phones, tickets - but could be almost anything
-common countries currently include: Nigeria, Romania, Ukraine, Spain, UK, Italy, Netherlands - but could be anywhere
deal often seems too good to be true
3. distant seller offers to send you a cashier's check and then have you wire money:
-this is ALWAYS a scam, in our experience - the cashier's check is FAKE
-sometimes accompanies an offer of merchandise, sometimes not
-scammer often asks for your name, address, etc for printing on the fake check
-deal often seems too good to be true
4. distant seller suggests use of an online escrow service.
-most online escrow sites are FRAUDULENT, operated by scammers
-for more info, do a google search on "fake escrow" or "escrow fraud"
-if you must do business with a distant seller, insist on a legitimate service, such as www.escrow.com
5. distant seller asks for a partial payment upfront, after which he will ship goods
-he says he trusts you with the partial payment
-he may say he has already shipped the goods
-deal often sounds too good to be true
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