Monday, May 2, 2016

Too Good To Be True...or Scamming Oldsters for Fun and Profit

It all started out with an ad in Craigslist.  It was time to sell Billy and Gandalf.  Billy is a two year old mini-nubian billy goat.  Gandalf is a yearling whether.  I priced Billy at $150, and Gandalf at $75 or both for $200, and put up the add on Craigslist.

In about 6 hours someone texted me and wanted to buy both goats.  And they didn't try to talk me down on the price, and even offered to give me and extra $35 if I would take down the Craigslist ad and hold the goats for a few days.  They would send a cashier's check for the amount, and some extra that they wanted me to give to their movers.

Well, sure, you are crazy trusting Mr. Goat Buyer, but then you are buying some eccentricity is expected, or at least tolerated. 

But then the check came today.  I had thought that it might be for $300 or maybe even $350....and somebody local with and old truck and a toothpick in the corner of their mouth might come buy and have to haul these goats far enough to justify a $50 or $100 charge.  Then we opened the envelope and found a check for $1850.50.  More than $1600 over the cost of the goats.

Annie was not impressed.  I was on the phone with our friend Randy - he was not impressed.  I thought it was about as weird a thing as has ever happened, and pretty sure it was a scam, but not sure how it could work.  After all, a cashier's check is as good as good,  right?

I did some searching and found this article.  You have to read down past the PayPal scams, but it is there.  The scam is, you get a cashier's check which looks good but isn't.  You deposit it and are manipulated into sending the 'mover' a Western Union wire.  Your bank floats the WU wire, and for a few days everything looks fine.  Then the bank eventually finds out the check is bad and comes back to you for reimbursement, which you probably have to do, or be charged with passing bad checks.  Meanwhile the scammers typically $1500 or so from the WU wire, and are long gone.

We are taking the check down to the post office tomorrow.  I doubt that much will come of it, but since they used the mail, it is mail fraud, and that is a Federal felony.  I'll let you know if anything comes of this in the future.  

Happy Craigslisting everyone!