by Michael Dorausch, DC

Received this via email today…

I have an ad in the “Equipment for sale: Private Party; X-Ray Equipment” section for a Kodak M6 Film Processor.

Someone using the name “[name removed since scammer is using name of a Chief Financial Officer of a publicly traded company] has attempted to defraud me through your website. I am notifying you so that you may take action and send a bulk email to your registrants, warning them about this particular scam.

This con is known as the “Overpayment Scam.” The purchaser will send a certified cheque that appears to be a real cheque, drawn from a bank in a different country. When the seller receives the cheque, they find that the purchaser has sent too much money. When contacted, the purchaser says “Just go ahead and cash the cheque. As soon as the money is in your bank account you can wire it back to me.” When the seller takes this cheque to the bank, the bank cannot tell that the cheque is a forgery. It will take up to 90 days for the foreign bank to reject the fraudulent cheque. At this time, in the U.S. the seller is liable and will be responsible for repaying their bank for the entire value of the fake cheque.

Fortunately I have run into this before, so I wasn’t about to get scammed. However, since an ad on your website has been targeted once, I’m sure it will happen again. Please send out an email warning sellers about this kind of activity.

I am very appreciative when participants of the chiropractic classified ad system provide this kind of detailed information. It helps to strengthen the community and encourages others to openly share their user experiences.

While we may not totally eliminate fraud, together we can identify those activities that appear fraudulent, and do our best in keeping our online community clean. At Planet Chiropractic, when someone posts a classified ad, they will receive an email with information regarding awareness of potential scam activity. There is also a post above the fold, which is visible on every page of the classifieds, containing more information regarding scams.

Posts and articles have been made to the website on several occasions, which include: Classified Ad Scams, Classifieds – Watch out for Scams, Email Classifieds Scam Attempt.

More on the Scam: According to the FTC, a check overpayment scam begins when a scam artist replies to the classified ad or auction posting and offers to purchase the item for sale with a check, then comes up with a reason for writing the check for more than the purchase price for the item. The scammer asks the consumer to wire back the difference after the check is deposited. Later, the scammer’s check bounces, leaving the consumer liable for the entire amount. The FTC says the scam is able to progress because, though the checks are counterfeit, they may look good enough to fool bank tellers.

Visit the FTC website for more information regarding “Check overpayment” scams.