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The Apache Junction Police Department would like to provide information to the community to help the public from becoming victims of scam artists.
As an example of a current trend, OfferUp enables users to buy and sell everything from furniture and electronics to cars and boats through its free mobile app.
This platform has become a fast method for scam artists to deploy their trade to relieve you of your cash. While OfferUp is a legitimate method to sell your items, you must be wary of the scam artists looking to deceive and obtain your hard earned cash.
The latest scam goes like this. You post a legitimate ad to sell your items. They are bulky and would require the help of a truck and possibly movers. The item is listed at a price around $2,000. Through OfferUp you get an instant offer, no negotiation, an outright “I want this for my Mom’s birthday.”
You are happy that it sold so fast. Then comes the hook, “I will need to arrange for a delivery company to pick it up and will send a check.” They send you a phone number to text them details for pick-up and delivery of payment. A week goes by and you text to find out when the check will arrive. It arrives two days later with no note, just a check and it is for $1,300 more than the item price.
At this point if you haven’t had a bad feeling, you should have. The check is from a bank in a different state but looks legitimate. You text to find out what to do since it is way over the amount. They reply that the extra is to pay the movers when they show up to get the item.
You become suspicious and you call the bank the check is drawn on and, guess what, it’s a fake! You just saved yourself from presenting a forged check to your bank once they discover it’s was fake, and/or being potentially out $3,300 plus fees.
After contacting the police you discover that this is a common scam when dealing with on-line selling. Most likely they will then ask for the shipping fees to be wire transferred to a bogus person who is posing as the movers. They may also ask for the money from you back as their mother suddenly passed away and there is no way they can proceed. Either way they could get your money. The scammers will likely never show up in person to pick up the item and collect the $1,300 moving fees as this would expose them and their identities.
The bank in this case was contacted and stated, “We have had a rash of these checks from across the country. Our first encounter was on Monday and they were coming mostly from the east coast. We have received roughly 40 of them this week. The account information on the bottom is correct, however the signature is not of the person authorized to sign the checks. We do not have a XXXX employed with us and to my knowledge we never have, I have been with the credit union for 10 years. The credit union logo and address are correct; they do not look the same as our real official checks. The coloring of the check is incorrect and the face of the check has security markers that are different from ours as well, we do not have the temperature marker.”
In dealing with on-line sales of your things always meet with the person face to face in a safe environment with plenty of witnesses. Do not take checks unless you verify they are legitimate and they are local. Inspect currency in larger bills to ensure it is not forged. If in doubt contact your local police department for assistance.
If you have any questions, please contact the AJPD Community Resource Coordinator, at (480) 474-5442 or firstname.lastname@example.org.