Valid Check Scams

We have received reports of North Dakota residents receiving valid checks from individuals who live out of state (such as Illinois) that are legitimate checks but from accounts of identity theft victims. Most of the reports involve amounts over and above what the price of the item is and want you to wire the money to another location. Please use extreme caution when dealing with people over e-mail and over the phone if they reside out of state, are sending money from out of state or want to pay you more then you are asking and ask you return the rest of the money. If you feel you are dealing with a potential fraud or have been a victim of such a fraud, please report it immediately to the local police/sheriff's office or the Office of the Attorney General.

WARNING: NEVER WIRE MONEY TO A FOREIGN COUNTRY!

Readers should use caution in replying to questionable advertisements. Don’t be the victim of the “classified ad scam.” The scam works like this: A buyer expresses an interest in your posted item. He says that he lives abroad and would like to send you a check or money order for the cost of the item plus the cost of shipping. You deposit the check or money order into your account, and are then asked to contact the shipping agent to arrange payment of their fees, usually via wire transfer. Since your bank has accepted the check or money order, you don’t question the validity of the check or money order and make the appropriate arrangements. You may then be told that the buyer no longer wants the item and you are asked to return the balance of the funds, again by wire transfer. Your bank is informed days or maybe weeks later that the check or money order was a forgery or fraudulent and requires you to return the monies to your bank. You are obligated to do so. The above example is merely one variation of classified ad scams.

If you have questions about advertisements requiring advance payment, overseas buyers, etc. please call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 701-328-3404 or toll free at 1-800-472-2600.

If it sounds too good to be true…it probably is.

This office has issued consumer alerts about this scam and addressed it in our newsletter, Too Good To Be True, which you can find online at:

From The United States Postal Service

http://www.usps.com/communications/ newsroom/localnews/ne/ne_2007_0201.htm

From Consolidated

We have received numerous reports of fraudulent listings in the form of animals (usually puppies and monkeys) and vehicles (usually motorcycles and ATVs).

Consolidated Telcom does remove these listings as they are verified to be a false or fraudulent listing and Consolidated Telcom reserves the right to remove any listing at any time, though not all listings are removed in a timely manner. Please exercise extreme caution when dealing with people you don't know, can not verify the condition of the item, or seem to be giving you conflicting information; especially from out of state or country.

Though we do have many legitimate buyers and sellers from all over the world using our classifieds, it is best to use your own judgment and as stated by the Office of Attorney General, if it sounds too good to be true ... it probably is.