Huntsville man warns others of overpayment scam - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Huntsville man warns others of overpayment scam

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The man received a check written for a large amount over his item's asking price. The man received a check written for a large amount over his item's asking price.
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

A Tennessee Valley man was almost scammed out of thousands of dollars trying to make a sale on Craigslist. 

Ken Rice is the owner of Trim Masters in Huntsville. He needed to find a new home for his power stroke transmission. He took to Craigslist to see if he could find any interested buyers. It didn't take long before he got a text.

"A guy sent me a text and he told me he'd give me $2,500 for it and I had only listed it for $2,200," he said. "When the check came in the mail, it was written for $5,650. 

Rice suspected his check wouldn't check out, so he went to his bank and they told him it was a scam.  

Michele Mason with the Better Business Bureau of North Alabama said scammers scour the Internet looking for items like this to write big bogus checks. 

"The problem is because it looks so realistic, most likely even using a real bank account number for a valid company, it's going to take your bank two or three weeks to learn that," she said.  "So they are going to release the hold on your funds and let you have it but in a couple of weeks they are probably going to come back and ask for it back."

She said some people use the over-payment scamming process on anything that's sold online, even animals.  

"They are either using a fictitious third party or it's a partner in the crime with them," she said.  "What they are doing is using you as the person to cash a counterfeit check for them and then send the funds back to them. It removes a paper trail for them so that authorities can't really track down who's behind this." 

Rice said when he still hadn't sent the money back to the scammer days later, he became very impatient.

"He just started texting and texting," he said. "He texted me 14 times in about three hours asking where the money was and when I was going to pay." 

Thankfully, Rice never did send the money. He said when he called the scammer out about the fake check, all the texts stopped.

Rice says his transmission will fit a 1999 7.3 automatic truck. He still plans to try and sell his transmission on Craigslist, but he said he will only accept cash in the future. Mason said if something like this happens to you, make sure you tell police and your bank.

For more basic Craigslist safety tips, click here.

Copyright 2013 WAFF. All rights reserved. 

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