Guide To Avoiding Internet Fraud - Part 2
Counterfeit Cashiers Checks
If you are selling a car be careful when a buyer shows up to pay you with a bank draft or cashier's check. You think to yourself it's as good as cash and give them the car. Unfortunately you get notified by your bank 7 days later that it's a counterfeit cashier's check. You became a fraud victim and had your car stolen!
To avoid being a victim of this fraud, do not give them the car until the cashier's check clears. Do not be tricked when you see the balance added to your account. This does not mean the check has cleared which can take up to 2 weeks. Verify that it has cleared with your bank and then give the buyer the car. You can also call the issuing bank to verify that the check is real and the funds will clear. You have to be even more careful with personal checks and I don't recommend you accept them!
Beware of "Wired Money"
Some scammers tell you they wired the money, for example $15,000, to your bank account and then say "we made a mistake and wired you too much money, I meant to send you $5,000, but sometimes errors happen." Now they politely request that you wire them the difference of $10,000. You were lied to by the scammer. He never wired anything to you. I'll tell you what he really did. He sent a bogus cashier's check to your bank and had them deposit the check into your bank account. Similar to the previous scam, the funds haven't actually cleared even though you see it in your balance. Whatever you do, don't send them a dime!
Never in a billion years send someone any of your banking information to "wire you money." They will use your account number to forge phony checks and drain your account dry.
"Nigerian" Counterfeit Cashiers Check Scam
This is similar to the other Cashiers Check Scams, but the buyer/scammer does not come to your home. Instead, the crime is executed via email and mail fraud using FedEx or other official looking overnight services. The buyer/scammer usually claims to be some huge overseas shipping company with a client interested in your car or they claim to be in another country and can't get to the U.S. But, his friend in the U.S. who owes him $20,000 can buy the car from you on his behalf.
Since you aren't asking that much for your car (for this example you are asking $11,500) the scammer proposes that he have his friend just send you the full $20,000. Once you deposit the money you will "wire the remaining $8,500 back to the buyer" who will arrange a transport truck to come get the car from you. He makes you feel better when he insists for you to wait until the check clears before you wire him the remaining funds.
Of course, as I mentioned earlier, the check hasn't really cleared yet, but it looks like the funds are in your account. To avoid this scam, never agree to a deal where you will refund money back to the buyer. Also, if you are selling on eBay Motors you can block international bidders.
Example "Nigerian Scam" Email
Subject: Acura Integra LS
We are LONDON based valuable procurement concern that specialize in the purchase and shipping of CARS to our numerous customers worldwide. We have a customer interested in purchasing your car mentioned above for the sum of $10,500.00. We will arrange a pick up of the car once payment is confirmed by the seller. Please confirm the selling price and we will ensure the purchaser to have the monies remitted to your account asap.
export director [Jude Egobia]
What to Do If You Are a Victim
Unfortunately no one really cares about your problem. Everybody from the local police to the Secret Service will tell you to forget about it when you call them, because once money is wired to Europe and picked up, it's out of their jurisdiction and they cannot reverse a Western Union transfer. Foreign governments offer no help at all.
- If you used Western Union call their Fraud Department at 800-325-6000 and at least try to determine where your money was picked up and if there was a camera at that location that caught it. You will need to contact the law enforcement authorities in the area where they picked up the cash, which tends to be in Europe.
- If you wired money directly to a bank you have a sliver of hope, but the clock is ticking and working against you, so you have to move fast. Attempt to reverse the wire transfer by contacting your bank and notify the receiving bank that their account is being used for illegal activity outside the United States.
- If you paid via E-Gold, E-Bullion, EvoCash, Islamic e-Dinar or other currency converting services your goal is to get the service to wire your funds back to you, or let you into "your" account to do it yourself. Contact them and give it a try.
If You Are a Fraud Victim Get Credit Monitoring
Scammers use your personal information to get credit cards and setup escrow fraud sites using your name, so you take the heat from victims. If they have any of your info you better get credit monitoring that gives you weekly alerts when someone takes out credit in your name, or views your credit file. If you entered your name on an escrow site, scammers will use that information.
You can monitor your credit by signing up with TransUnion or Experian.com (you get your 3 credit reports and 3 scores by Experian instantly online, with enrollment in Experian.com). When scammers get a credit card in your name, you must act quickly to shut it down. Your credit report shows who accessed your credit file. I signed up to Equifax Credit Watch which notifies you of changes to your credit file. As a bonus you get your credit report and FICO credit score 4 times a year.