The internet is a great tool when you want to sell something. But it's important to make sure you know who you're doing business with. We have a Contact 13 consumer alert from a valley woman who was the recent target of a scam.
"It was a Go-Go Elite wheelie cart," says Geri Araishi.
She was selling this motorized chair online for $450. It wasn't long until someone made an offer. But there was a problem.
"She had to pay with a cashiers check, do I accept it? I said look, if you have a problem, you go to eBay. Buy it on eBay make arrangements through PayPal," says Geri.
But the buyer never responded to the suggestion of using PayPal.
"She needed my address which was fine. You know, I gave her my address," says Geri.
A few days later, she got the check.
"When I opened up the check I said really, really am I that stupid? I said no, no this is not gonna happen," says Geri.
The check was for $2,450!
"They never once told me they were going to give me an extra $2,000," says Geri.
The buyer contacted her, claiming the extra money was to pay movers, who would be picking up the scooter. But Geri called the deal off.
"They would've had an extra $2,000 in their pocket, plus the product," says Geri.
She knew it was a scam. So Geri took the check to her bank to confirm.
"I asked them to look at it. First thing out of them is, this is not real," says Geri.
"Payments should not be a personal check," says Rhonda Mettler with the Better Business Bureau.
The BBB warns, always use a secure form of payment. Don't be so desperate to make a sale, that you fall for any traps. The buyer needs to pay for any possible mover themself. There's no reason any potential buyer should be sending you extra money.
"Commonsense needs to come in to play when doing any kind of transaction like that," says Rhonda Mettler.
So here's the Contact 13 bottom line: be sure to pay attention to the small details. In this case, the buyer claimed she lived in Arizona. But the check came from a credit union in Dallas and mailed from a check in Ohio.
Geri was lucky enough to have a bankteller, that was paying attention. But we've seen cases where the bank didn't catch it. So if you decide to accept a check from someone you don't know, be sure to wait for the check to clear.