Tuesday, February 26, 2013
A Scam a Day Will Take Your Money Away
Gorgeous, isn't she? This is our 51' sailboat that we've had listed on a few internet boat sites and apparently it was the perfect lure for a scammer.
We received an inquiry with a few specific questions, then the man, "David", said he was interested in buying our boat, but he wouldn't be able to come see it for a few weeks. He said he'd like to send us a check and have us hold it for him. Several emails later (that still didn't answer or clear up all of our questions) he sent a check via Fed Ex Overnight Global Express from Canada.
Now that should've made us feel confident it was real, as well as that it being a cashier's check, right?
Nope. I smelled a scam from the beginning, but figured there might be a 1% chance he was legit, so we decided to play it out. The check was for the exact asking price, and David was in no hurry to come get the boat. In fact, he stated he'd make transportation arrangements after it cleared. Hmm...so where's the scam?
I took the check to the bank and discovered it was counterfeit. Not drawn on a real account but a check designed to look real that was actually fake. Depositing it would have gotten us a bad check fee, and of course, if we'd tried to use any of it, our checks might have bounced.
We turned him in to the local Sheriff who could do nothing, since it was out of the country. He suggested the State Attorney General. They said they don't deal with fraud/scams/criminal cases and to take it to the FBI. They could have cared less since the check didn't come via the mail. Fill out a fraud form on the internet and don't bother us.
We let David think we'd deposited the check, and two days later discovered 'the rest of the story'. He wrote saying he'd caught his wife in bed with his best friend and since the boat was a gift for her, he needed his money back ASAP, although we could 'keep' 5% of the money for our trouble.
We ignored him, and he got more insistent for about 24 hrs, then quietly disappeared, apparently figuring out we'd uncovered the truth.
The lesson? Don't assume because it's a cashier's check OR arrives by overnight express that it's legit. Take it to your local bank and have them verify first, before you deposit it, and NEVER, NEVER send money back or let the person take the item you're selling until the check clears.
We're so thankful we didn't fall for this scam, but the sad fact is, a lot of people do, or these bottom-feeders wouldn't keep doing what they do.
Have you ever fallen for a scam? What happened and did the people ever get caught? Any other advice you'd like to offer my readers? Please share!