San Diego man a victim of overpayment fraud

Gary Schultz out thousands of dollars

SAN DIEGO - A San Diego man is out thousands of dollars after trying to rent a room in his apartment.

Gary Schultz thought he found the perfect person to rent the extra bedroom in his spacious San Diego apartment.

"In all of her emails, she is so compelling," said Schultz.

The young woman who answered his Craigslist ad said she was a student living in London who wanted to finish her degree in San Diego.

"I was very careful," said Schultz, who works in an IT department. "I had gone on the Internet and checked out her address and name. The name matched the address she gave me."

After checking out her information, he told her to send a check for $2,000 to cover the first and last month's rent. Schultz said she sent three money orders totaling $3,000.

"That extra $1,000 was that she was shipping her car here and they were going to deliver the car and I was to pay the shipper," said Schultz.

Schultz said the money orders looked legitimate and had a fraud detection sticker on them. He said the teller at Chase bank did not see a problem with them either and deposited the money orders into his account.

Schultz waited five days and then wired that extra $1,000 to the person shipping the car. That afternoon, he received an email from Chase saying the money orders were fake.

"Stupid me, I wire the money on a Thursday and Friday I find out it wasn't covered," said Schultz.

The FBI says Schultz was a victim of overpayment fraud. A report by the Internet Crime Complaint Center shows overpayment fraud is one of the top five crimes reported in 2011 with 18,511 people falling victim to the scam that year.

Special agent Brett Fenoglio says the same scam keeps ripping people off in new ways.

"Scammers are clever," said agent Fenoglio. "They are good. They'll change up the events. They'll change up the scenarios, but the principals of the scam remain the same and the red flags remain the same."

Overpayment fraud red flags:

  • - Someone contacts you from out of the country.
  • - They want to rent or buy something sight unseen.
  • - They send you money orders or cashier's checks.
  • - They send you more money than you requested.

All were signs that Schultz missed, which was something the scammers were banking on.

"I think they should rot in jail to be honest with you," said Schultz.

He is still trying to rent out his room but tells 10News he will only deal in cash.

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