Scam Clues

Dear Editor,

I’ve written numerous letters concerning scams, including some which I have investigated.

This one was recent and intended for me, but it will give you some idea how far these crooks are willing to reach.

Earlier this week, my Craig’s list ad was answered by “Mary Joe” allegedly from Oregon. She (?) indicated an interest in my sale and, I offered to provide her with a telephone number to discuss the features. No reply – First Warning/Clue.

A day or so later, “Mary Joe” (?) again sent an e-mail saying she would purchase the item and would send a check and UPS mailing/shipping labels. I calculated that the items which I was selling for under $300 would probably cost about half of that to ship and insure. (Second Warning/ Clue.)

I insisted on a bank draft or Postal Money Order. She (?) waited several days to reply, stating that the check and shipping labels were in the mail. (2nd Clue).

I received a follow up e-mail to the effect that she had been out of town for a few days and asked her secretary to send the check, but the secretary made an error and wrote the check for more than the asking price. Would I kindly refund the difference? BIG, BIG CLUE.

Anytime you make a sale, insist on a bank draft, and then call the bank or institution, using a telephone number that you located. Don’t depend on any number provided by the buyer and keep written records of all transactions and how you replied.

William J. Patsche

St. Clairsville