Rip-Off Alert | Scammers hit Craiglist tire sale with bad checks

When David Thurston decided to sell an extra set of tires on Craigslist for $450, he thought it would be easy. But instead, scammers tried to strike. (KSNV file)

If you are looking to buy or sell anything these days, you are probably familiar with Craigslist.

While the online marketplace makes life easier in some ways, Craigslist has also made it easier for scammers.

When David Thurston decided to sell an extra set of tires on Craigslist for $450, he thought it would be easy.

"They were in good shape, seemed like, you know, a good place to find somebody that needs them," said Thurston.

The Portland, Maine resident quickly got a buyer from another state who said they would send a check for the tires, as well as money for shipping.

"The check was for $1,780, which, to me, made no sense that you'd pay that much to ship something that was only worth $450," said Thurston.

"It was to compensate him for the inconvenience because he was going to have some people come pick up the tires from him, so like another middleman," said U.S. Postal Inspector Emily Spera.

Thurston tried to call and text the buyer regarding the shipping arrangements and got very vague responses.

"That's when I started getting back, 'don't worry about it,' 'they'll take care of it,' and just not giving me clear answers," said Thurston.

"It's not it's just a little bit more to compensate him for his inconvenience, it's for a lot more and when you're looking at funds and that much of difference and they are maybe going to let you keep some of the funds in some situations, in other situations they ask you to send some of the remaining funds back. That's an automatic red flag that that's a scam," said Spera.

Conmen are trying to outpace banks' monitoring systems by getting victims to deposit bad checks and quickly return the difference.

"It may be a really long time before it comes back that that check isn't good, and by that time, the bad guy is long gone," said Spera.

Victims are now on the hook for the bad check and the money they lost by sending money to the conmen.

Thurston never deposited the check, though. He knew something was wrong and confirmed his suspicions by researching online.

"When the first thing that pops up on Google says that sounds exactly like what is going on, that's when I contacted the postmaster," said Thurston.

If you ever think you have received a suspicious money order, you can take it to your local post office. They are trained to look for certain marks to confirm validity.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off