News Details

Scam Smart: Selling Items Online

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department is warning citizens of an internet scam targeting people looking to sell items online through sites such as Craigslist, Let Go, Offer Up or Close 5.

Here’s how it works:

• A bogus buyer reaches out to the seller with a phone call, email or text expressing interest in the for-sale item.
• The bogus buyer then explains they can’t pick up the item for one reason or another, but not to worry – they’ll arrange for movers to come and pick up the merchandise.
• The buyer cuts a check and adds a significant monetary bonus to cover the cost of the movers.
• The buyer then advises the seller to cash the check and wire the extra funds to the mover.
• The trusting seller does as advised, never to hear from the buyer again.

After a survey of their bank account, the seller soon realizes they were duped out of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars because that check was fraudulent and so were the movers they shipped the money to.

The best way to avoid this scam: Be a prudent seller. If an online transaction involves a check, cash it first and make sure it clears before sending any money or before parting with the item you are selling.