MADISON, Wis. - Craigslist users beware. A Dodgeville woman said she was targeted by imposters who tried to use not one but two scams to dupe her out of money. Luckily, Amy Mellor caught on to the hoax before she lost any money but she is using her experience to warn others.
Mellor, of Dodgeville, was selling a piece of camera equipment on Craigslist for $120. She was contacted by a woman who offered to pay $170 for it. A week a later a check showed up in her mailbox for $1,850. The scammer instructed her to purchase $700 dollars’ worth of Google gift cards, keep the $170 and wire the rest back to the scammer.
“They told me to take the check to a Walmart or CVS. Get seven gift cards and scratch off the PIN numbers. Take pictures of them and send them immediately,” Mellor explained.
Mellor said she knew the situation was a scam but is still frightened by the incident.
“I quit corresponding with them,” Mellor said. “I was getting text messages that they were going to turn me into the FBI and that they were going to arrest me.”
There are really two scams at play here: a Craigslist scam and a fake check scam. In a fake check scam a check is sent to a consumer and is written for more than what is owed. The scammer asks the consumer to wire back the excess money. However, often weeks later when the bank discovers the check is phony the consumer owes the bank the withdrawn funds.
“It’s the No. 3 national scam that's taking place in the United States right now,” Tiffany Schultz of the Better Business Bureau said.
Schultz said to never take payment or make transactions using gift cards because they aren’t traceable.
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