The Sheriff’s Office was recently contacted by a citizen to report a possible scam. The citizen had listed a product on craigslist for $150.00 and received an inquiry from a subject who identified himself as “David Martinez” from California. After a brief interaction, Martinez communicated that he wanted to purchase the item and would send a check. After several days the seller received a check for $960.00, substantially more than the agreed upon sales price. The buyer explained that $800 should be paid to movers who would pick up the item and the seller could keep the balance. The alert seller took the check to the bank prior to depositing it and discovered that it was forged.
If the seller had deposited the check he may have been contacted by “the buyer” prior to the check clearing the bank. The buyer might claim an urgent situation and request some of the “overpaid” money be returned. The check would have been worthless and the seller would have lost the money he returned in good faith.
While there are a number of different scenarios that might have played out, the person attempting the fraud would have tried to get money returned on a forged check.
The investigation into the incident continues. The Sheriff’s Office advises vigilance when buying or selling online. (See a recent media release on an eBay Lookalike Scam - http://bit.ly/2ht5Vhj.)
Call the Sheriff’s Office to report suspicious activity by using the non-emergency number 540-658-4400.