Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Craigslist San Diego Frame Purchase Scam

Technically this scam doesn't revolve solely around picture frames but a recent victim reported that he was a victim of the scam and he was selling his old antique picture frame. This scam is for all purposes a "bait and switch" scam that can happen anywhere but the scammers seem to be targeting users of Craigslist that live in San Diego or at least advertising on San Diego Craigslist.

They will normally target victims who are trying to sell something that is hard to sell and have been listed on Craigslist for some time. This means that the seller is getting desperate and is more likely to follow through with the scammers instructions. The price or the type of product being sold doesn't matter. What matters is the transactions that the seller is willing to do.

The scammer will almost always pose as a person that is not in town and will be in town for a short while sometime in the future. Because of their time constraints they have to complete the transaction before they reach town. More than likely, they will be from Africa. Sometimes the scammer will call you but they will almost always contact your through email to show their "interest".

They will feed you a story and try to construct their way to make you believe them and their "unique" situation. The item, the delivery details etc aren't important. What is important is that the scammer will always insist that they need to pay by credit card, normally Visa or MasterCard.

The card details that they offer the victim will be real. The money will be transferred and it will show in your account. The glitch will be that the scammer will say that they have unfortunately given you too much money by mistake and ask that you wire the money back to them. They will insist that you use Western Union. Western Union is great for scammers because once the money is picked up from the other end it is impossible for the money to be traced and recovered.

The victim will normally not see any problem with this as they already have the money in their account. Correcting the mistake won't seem to pose any issues so most victims will happily comply. The only issue is that this is where the scam happens. After the scammer has received his "extra money" from you, he will perform a "Charge-back" from his credit card. Most charge-backs are successful and if you haven't taken the money out from your account, most western banks will comply and deduct the money out of you account.

Ultimately, the scammer will get his money back plus the extra that you have sent to him over Western Union. Your item will most probably be lost because of the bogus shipping address that was provided. This scam really screws with legitimate sellers so those in the San Diego area should be particularly careful of whats going on. Some tell-tale signs will be the buyer coming from Africa, wanting to buy an item unseen and also insisting on using credit cards only.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Craigslist San Diego Check Scam

A new scam has cropped up and it involves the use of counterfeit checks and it preys on the greed of people who suddenly see their names on a check with a nice sum of money. The problem is that it generally preys on people who have made listing on Craigslist especially in the San Diego area where they seem to have taken root and are starting to search the market for new victims.

Here is how it works. The victim with suddenly get a check in the mail for them with amounts that range from $2000-$5000. The check will come accompanied with some typed instructions that will ask the victim to deposit the money in his/her account then send over a large percentage of it to another account. The victim is asked to keep the rest for themselves as payment for the service.

For the average San Diego Craigslist users this sounds almost too good to be true. They get to keep a small percentage of money for very little work indeed. It is relatively safe since you'll have to deposit the money into your account first before you send anything off.

This is what most people think however the reality is somewhat different. The scammers know there is something called a "float" and a "ledger balance". When you deposit the check, the bank will show your new balance as a "ledger balance" and doesn't actually reflect the true amount of money that you can access. The check would still be clearing and unfortunately for the victims, it will never clear since the checks are always fake.

The problem is that many users don't know that the balance that is shown by the bank isn't real until the check clears. They will mistakenly think that the check has already been cleared and wire the money over to the indicated account. Wiring money over is instant and non-reversible. It'll only be a few days later that the bank will call the victim to say that the check has bounced and that they have possibly been scammed.

It is our advice that San Diego readers of Craigslist be particularly careful when they receive a weird check from someone they don't know. It is much better to just throw away the check and pretend that it didn't happen.