Scammers targeting people selling items in Classified Ads

By: Aaron Luna Email
By: Aaron Luna Email

Wayne and Pat Smith just wanted to sell their electric organ.

So they took out an ad in the local paper. "We got some calls but nobody come by, then we got an operator-assisted call," says Smith.

The operator said the caller on the other line wanted more info on the organ. After a brief description the deal seemed to be done. Smith says, "They said 'well, we won't have to come by and look at it we'll just send you a money order."

Sure enough, two days later an envelope appeared on his door step. Smith says, "Well I was surprised to find two $850 money orders."
He also got an email.

It was the buyer telling him to cash the money orders then use some of the extra money for gas. After that, Smith could wire transfer the remainder back to the buyer. The remainder would have been $1,150.

But Smith was suspiciouis. He had his daughter, an assistant manager at Wal-Mart, take a look at the money order. "I took them out to her and she took one look at them and she says, 'Dad, those are phony,'" says Smith.

It’s a ripoff the Sheriff's Department calls the overpayment scam. "Don't ever agree to cash something and give something out, simply ask them to provide you with the payment for the exact amount," says Sheriff’s Office Spokesperson Heather Benjamin.

Benjamin says the Sheriff’s Office is confident most of these scammers live overseas. "That is very difficult for us, we don't have jurisdiction overseas to get your money back for you," says Benjamin.

Smith has since decided not to sell the organ. He’s just glad he now has the chance to warn others about the scam that almost took him. "You gotta watch what's going on because everybody is out there to make a few dollars if they can," says Smith.


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