Apache Junction Police Department warns about Internet-based fraud

The Apache Junction Police Department would like to caution the public about selling and buying articles through Internet-based websites. Whether you are looking for a deal on concert and sports tickets, or are looking to sell a car yourself, be prepared for someone trying to take you. Thieves are looking for easy ways to steal from you.

Here is an example of how crooks attempt to take advantage of others, often from far away:

An Apache Junction woman explained an encounter that she had recently.  She was selling some articles that she posted on Craigslist. A potential buyer began to text her offering to buy some things at her asking price. This seemed normal. The buyer said that a cashier’s check would be sent by priority mail.

When our seller received the check she was surprised to see that it was for much more than she had requested -$1,600. The buyers asked our seller to cash the check and give the movers the difference when they come by to collect what was purchased.

Our seller was wise, choosing not to cash the cashier’s check and drop the sale. She was smart to trust her instincts once she saw that she was overpaid.

The thief was looking to access her bank account and collect an easy payday with this overpayment by an out-of-towner scam.

We suggest using these guidelines for on-line sales:

  • Sites like Craigslist search by a specific city. Your best bet is to deal with local people.
  • Arrange to meet face-to-face with a buyer or seller. These crooks do not want to be known and are in another state or country when they mail you a fraudulent check.
  • Prefer to sell only for cash. People can create fake bills too but you should be able to tell by the appearance and feel of currency.
  • Do not allow funds to be routed to you through an escrow account. This may not be secure.
  • Be suspicious if someone communicates only by text message. Call them. If they do not have a phone number, that is a clue.
  • Remember, if it is too good to be true it might be a con. Thieves make irresistible offers to take advantage of you. Do not let someone pressure you to make a deal quickly.

If you have any questions regarding this article you can contact the AJPD community resource coordinator at 480-474-5442 or cru@ajcity.net.

Editor’s note: Rob McDaniel is Apache Junction Police Department’s community resource coordinator.


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