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Craigslist Overpayment Scam Warning Message

Message circulating on Facebook describes a Craigslist user's experience with an an overpayment scam and warns other users to watch out for such criminal tactics.

Brief Analysis
The warning is legitimate. Overpayment scams are very common and occur not just on Craigslist but via many other sites where people sell items online. Overpayment scams are designed to launder the proceeds of crime. They attempt to trick victims into accepting fake or stolen cheques or allowing money transfers from hijacked bank accounts. Do not proceed with any transaction that asks you to accept more than the agreed price for an item and wire the remaining amount to a third party.

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Warning ! Waring ! Please Please Read There is a scam going around and I was almost a victim of it today. I recently posted an ad on Craig's list I was contacted by a person that sent me a check for 1500.00 for the item I was selling. When I received the check today it was for the amount of 4000.00. When I asked why the check was for so much they informed me that the extra money was to be shipped via western union to the shipper so the item could be picked up and delivered. I got suspicious and took the check to my bank to make sure this check was ligit. I was informed that it was in fact a fake. The bank told me that if I had cashed this check that it would have come back to me and I would be responsible for the 4000.00 and they would have access to all my banking information. I am asking everyone to please like and share this post to make it go viral so this does not happen to you or anyone you know or any hard working Americans. Here is a picture of the check below. Please take the time to like and share. Lets get this thing viral.

Craigslist Overpayment Scam

Detailed Analysis

This message, which is circulating rapidly on Facebook, describes how a user of online buying and selling portal Craigslist was almost scammed when attempting to sell an item. A supposed buyer agreed to purchase an item for $1500 but sent the seller a cheque for $4000, with a request to wire the extra amount to a third party via Western Union, ostensibly to cover shipping costs. However, the cheque was in fact bogus, and if he had proceeded, the seller would have been left out of pocket.

The scam described in the warning message is real and is in fact very common. Overpayment scams like the one described occur regularly, not just on Craigslist but via many other online selling websites.

Typically, an overpayment scam works like this:

In some versions of the scam, the criminals ask to transfer funds directly into the victim's bank account and again request that the extra funds be withdrawn and sent via a money wire service. The money will actually be transferred from a hijacked bank account and is an attempt by criminals to launder the proceeds of crime. There are many other variants of the same basic scam.

Do not go ahead with any sale in which the buyer asks you to accept more than the agreed price and wire the remaining funds to a third party. This is not a legitimate way of doing business and any such request should be viewed as highly suspect.

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Last updated: April 23, 2013
First published: April 23, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen
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