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.

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