Dad: Craigslist thieves try to scam money from teen

Posted at 6:34 PM, Feb 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-22 21:34:48-05

SAN DIEGO - A San Diego teen thought selling his Xbox on Craigslist would be an easy way to make some money for schoolbooks.

His dad told 10News it ended becoming a lesson on how to avoid getting scammed.

"He was selling it for $425, but this person was willing to give $50 extra if he held that for her,” said Gary Ries.

Gary Ries said that’s how the interaction with his son started, a promise of a little extra money.

$475 for a used Xbox sounded like a great deal, if you’re the person selling it.

However, Ries told 10News that extra money came with a few strings attached.

"I knew it was a scam right off,” he said.

Gary said someone in Georgia responded to his sons Internet posting saying they weren’t going to send him the amount he requested, but more.

"She ended up sending a check for $1,980,” he said.

The extra  $1,500 was supposed to pay off a shipping company.

Gary said the buyer told his son the company would pick up the Xbox and other items the buyer was purchasing in San Diego and transport them back east.

Gary said his son was given instructions on what to do with the extra money.

"He deposits the checks and then with the money keeps $475 plus the money gram fee, and then sends the rest of the money to her shipper,” he said.

Gary said he questioned why someone on the east coast would be interested in an Xbox coming from San Diego.

"I just told my son that it’s just bogus, it’s fraudulent,” he said.

"We see a ton of fake check scams on Craigslist, “ said Sheryl Reichert the President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving San Diego, Orange and Imperial Counties. “We call them overpayment scams.”

Reichert warned if someone is receiving a check and asked to forward money somewhere else, it's a big red flag.

"It takes time for a check to bounce,” Reichert said. “It takes time to find out the check they've sent you is fake.”

Gary said he called the bank the check was drawn on and was told it’s a fake.

"Everything is wrong about this check, even the phone number,” he said.

According to the Better Business Bureaus website, “With overpayment scams, fraudsters play the role of buyer and target consumers selling a product or service. It usually works this way: The buyer "accidentally" sends you a check for more than the amount they owe you. They ask you to deposit it into your bank account and then wire them the difference. A deposited check can take several days or more to clear. When the original check turns out to be a fake and bounces, the victim is still on the hook to pay the bank back for any money withdrawn. Fake checks can be used for any type of scam, so always wait for a deposit to clear before writing checks against the funds.”