Logo horizontal ruler

Beware of Foreign Buyers on E-Bay, Police Warn

By Lookout Staff

December 22 -- Santa Monica police detectives are investigating a scam involving fraudulent cashier checks sent by E-Bay buyers located outside the U.S.

The suspects under investigation pay a higher amount that the going price to sellers on the Internet auction site, then ask the seller to cash the check and send the merchandise with the overpayment, police said.

“Many times the fact that the cashier’s check is fraudulent is not discovered until days after the seller has wired the money and mailed off the sold item,” said Lt. Frank Fabrega, the police department spokesman.

In one case, the suspect bought a computer from a victim for $500 and sent a check for $4,000, Fabrega said. The suspect asked the victim to cash the fraudulent check and send the $3,500 overpayment to a location in Nigeria.

“Unfortunately, the cashier’s check was fraudulent and the victim suffered the loss,” Fabrega said..

Generally, the buyer claims to live outside of the U.S. but has someone in the country who owes him money, Fabrega said. The buyer then says he will have this third party send the seller a cashier’s check for an amount larger than the purchase.

The seller is told to cash the check and deduct monies owed to him for the item being sold and the cost of shipping, then mail the purchased item to an address and send the remaining money to the buyer via Western Union, Fabrega said.

The Santa Monica Police Department strongly encourages anyone using any type of online auction site to be cautious when receiving a cashier check from buyers located outside the U.S.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Santa Monica Police Department at 310-458-8491 or Detective Maury Sumlin at 310-458-8437.

Callers who wish to provide anonymous information may also call the We-Tip national hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463). Callers with information that leads to an arrest and conviction become eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

Lookout Logo footer image
Copyright 1999-2008 surfsantamonica.com. All Rights Reserved.
Footer Email icon