The craigslist check con, and its aftermath

From Wikipedia’s entry on Con men and popular cons:

Stolen Cheques. A recent twist on the Nigerian fraud scheme, the mark is told he is helping someone overseas collect “debts” from corporate clients. Large cheques stolen from businesses are mailed to the mark. These cheques are altered to reflect the mark’s name, and the mark is then asked to cash them and transfer all but a percentage of the funds (his commission) to the con artist. The cheques are often completely genuine, except that the “pay to” information has been expertly changed. This exposes the mark not only to enormous debt when the bank reclaims the money from his or her account, but also to criminal charges for money laundering. A more modern variation is to use laser-printed counterfeit checks with the proper account numbers and payer information.

This con is what recently landed a guy in jail, for merely asking his bank (BofA) if a craiglist scammer’s check was legit or not.

One Comment

  • I really don’t understand the one-sided response to the BofA story. This guy had a fraudulent check in his hand! It doesn’t matter where you are–a bank, your house, Disneyland–that can get you arrested.
    Yes, he was scammed. And yes, he at least tried to verify whether or not he was being scammed. But he did it WHILE he was trying to cash the fraudulent check. In a bank. At the teller window. That’s waaaaay too late for institutional sympathy. That’s like me buying a stereo from a guy in a van on the side of the road, then “verifying” that it wasn’t stolen by trying to sell it to someone else.
    The story then goes on to say that they had to lay out $14,000 to clear his name. At least he got his name cleared! Remember: he broke the law. Yes, Bank of America is the one that caught him, and they gave him a few hours in jail. But the rest had nothing to do with BofA. His greed and naivete got him tangled up with a scammer, and THAT’S what the lawyers sorted out.
    I feel sorry for the guy, and I’m glad he only spent a few hours in jail, instead of a few years in prison. Because he very easily could have.

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