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  • Geebo 8:47 am on September 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , wire fraud   

    Fake check scam hitting new highs 

    Fake check scam hitting new highs

    If you’ve been following our blog for a while you’re probably familiar with the fake check scam. It’s a scam that has been around since the early days of craigslist but has since expanded into other avenues. If you’re unfamiliar with the scam, a scammer will send you a check for various reasons and will ask you to deposit the check into your banking account then will have you wire them back a large portion of the money they sent you. The problem is, by the time the bank finds out the check is a fake, you’ve already sent the money back and you’re stuck with repaying the check amount back to the bank.

    Since this scam has been around for such a long time and has been written about a myriad of times, one could assume that the scam was on the decline. Not so says the Better Business Bureau as a new report they recently released claims that as many as 500,000 people in the US fell victim to this scam last year at an average rate of $1200 per person. If their estimation is correct, that means scammers cost their victims around $600 million altogether.

    As I previously stated, this scam has evolved into taking many different forms although there are many common ones. The most common is when you’re trying to sell something online and you receive a check for more than the amount your asking. Another common tactic the scammers take is tied to an employment scam, like secret shoppers. They’ll send you a check for phony expenses and have you wire the money to a phony vendor. Sweepstakes scams are another favorite tactic of fake check scammers where they will send you a check but you need to wire someone the taxes or fees needed to handle the cost.

    Any time someone you don’t know personally asks you to deposit a check into your bank account is more than likely trying to scam you. Another good tip-off to being scammed is when you’re asked to wire any kind of money to a third-party. Scammers have been taking advantage of money wiring services for years as in many cases they can receive the money anywhere and walk away with your cash completely anonymously.

     
  • Geebo 10:32 am on May 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Lincoln, , , wire fraud   

    A Capital city hit with trio of scams 

    A Capital city hit with trio of scams

    Lincoln, Nebraska, population 280,000+, was recently hit by a trio of online scams that were reported to police. Regular readers of our blog may recognize these scams, but as long as victims keep falling prey to them, it gives us the opportunity to review them once again, and discuss how to avoid them.

    In the first scam, a man was selling his car on craigslist and received a check for more than the amount asked. The man then wired the difference back to the ‘buyer’. The check later turned out to be a phony and the man was out over $1500 since the bank debited the man’s account for the amount of the fraudulent check. This is one of the most common scams when selling something online. If you receive a check that’s over the amount asked, chances are the check is a fake and should be discarded accordingly. In cases like this, you should always deal in cash only and meet the buyer at a secure transaction location like a police station.

    In the second scam, a woman lost close to $5000 after she received a Facebook message from a friend claiming to have received money from a grant in order to pay their bills. The victim paid the money to the phony grant givers for ‘processing fees’ before finding out that her friend’s Facebook account had been hacked. If you receive this kind of message from a friend on Facebook, it’s more than likely that their account has been compromised. You should contact them in a way outside of Facebook to let them know their Facebook has been taken over.

    Lastly, a woman was out close to $700 after trying to buy a dog online. In this instance, the victim was told to wire most of the money out to one state while paying the rest in gift cards to another state. Unfortunately, this victim was double-scammed. Both wiring money and paying through gift cards are sure signs of a scam and should always be avoided when buying something online. After the funds have been transferred in these matters, once the money is gone it’s impossible to get back and the scammers are virtually untraceable at this point. Also, if you’re looking to purchase a pet, we strongly recommend going to your local shelter or a licensed breeder as you’re also less likely to get a pet with health conditions as many puppy mills and the like advertise online.

    Again, while most of our regular readers are probably familiar with these scams, there are still many others out there that aren’t. We ask you to please share this blog post with them so they can be better-prepared consumers in the future.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on May 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: art theft, , Mordokwan, rembrandt, wire fraud   

    Was craigslist used in the country’s largest art heist? 

    Was craigslist used in the country's largest art heist?

    There’s no doubt that craigslist has a crime problem. One industry observer even called craigslist a ‘cesspool of crime’. The crimes committed on craigslist are countless, but one you don’t normally hear about is art theft. We’re not talking about dogs playing poker either.

    Over 25 years ago, two men disguised as police stole over $500 million in artwork from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Two of those pieces were Rembrandt’s “Storm on the Sea of Galilee” (partially shown above), and Johannes Vermeer’s “The Concert”. “The Concert” is valued at $200 million. The FBI has been offering a $5 million reward for information leading to the recovery of the paintings.

    Recently, a man known only by the pseudonym of ‘Mordokwan’, allegedly took out craigslist ads all over the world claiming he had the aforementioned paintings and was selling them both for $55 million. So, was a crime so rare that it’s usually reserved for heist movies brokered through craigslist? Not exactly.

    As it turns out, it was a crime that craigslist is more known for, wire fraud. ‘Mordokwan’ turned out to be 47-year-old Todd Andrew Desper of Beckley, West Virginia. Authorities were able to track him down after he allegedly requested a $5 million cashier’s check be sent to a PO Box at a local UPS Store. Desper was said to not be in possession of any of the paintings advertised or any of the ones stolen and is not believed to be connected to the original heist.

    While Mr. Mordokwan may not be the smartest criminal to ever use craigslist, he’s far from the only one, and craigslist continues to not lift a finger when it comes to their users’ safety.

     
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