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Consumer Alert: Protect yourself when selling on websites like Craigslist

Protect yourself when selling on websites like Craigslist (WKRC) 

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Many people looking to buy or sell something online turn to websites like Craigslist.

Plenty of dishonest people want to take advantage of that.

Local 12 Troubleshooter Howard Ain shows how one man got on the wrong end of a bad deal.

Scammers often use Craigslist to take advantage of unsuspecting consumers, but, if you are careful, there are ways to protect yourself.

When David Thurston decided to sell an extra set of tires on craigslist for $450.00, he thought it would be easy.

“They were in good shape, seemed like, you know, a good place to find somebody that needs them,” said Thurston.

He quickly got a buyer from another state who said they would send a check for the tires and money for shipping.

“The check was for $1,780.00 which to me made no sense that you'd pay that much to ship something that was only worth $450.00,” said Thurston.

“It was to compensate him for the inconvenience because he was going to have some people come pick up the tires from him, so like another middle man,” said Emily Spera, a US postal inspector.

David tried to call and text the buyer regarding the shipping arrangements and got very vague responses.

“That's when I started getting back "don't worry about it" - "they'll take care of it" and just not giving me clear answers,” said Thurston.

“It's not it's just a little bit more to compensate him for his inconvenience - it's for a lot more and when you're looking at funds and that much of difference and they are maybe going to let you keep some of the funds in some situations in other situations they ask you to send some of the remaining funds back. That's an automatic red flag that that's a scam,” said Spera.

Conmen are trying to outpace bank's monitoring systems by getting victims to deposit bad checks and quickly return the difference.

“It may be a really long time before it comes back that that check isn't good and by that time the bad guy is long gone,” said Spera.

Victims are now on the hook for the bad check and the money they lost by sending money to the conmen.

David never deposited the check.

He knew something was wrong and confirmed his suspicions by researching online.

“When the first thing that pops up on Google says that sounds exactly like what is going on, that's when I contacted the postmaster,” said Thurston.

If you are ever have suspicions about a money order you receive, just take it to your local post office.

They can check for certain marks to confirm whether or not it’s real.

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