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Rip-Off Alert: Overpayment meant to trick online seller

Reported by: Marie Mortera
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Updated: 3/04/2013 6:35 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- Con artists are trolling for their next victim on online auction sites. In today's Rip-Off Alert, we have one scam that is easy to spot.

"If you're not careful when you buy on online auction sites or other sites, you can easily be duped from your money," said U.S. Postal Inspector Tom Ouelette,

The item in question is an elliptical machine. A seller posted a picture of the item on Craigslist with a price tag of $1,500.

"Sure enough, to the seller's delight, she got a response,” Ouelette said. “What she didn't expect was the buyer sent her $2,500 -- basically $1,000 more than the asking price."

But the money order the buyer sent was counterfeit. The con man was hoping to trick the seller into wiring back the overpayment from her bank account before the bank realized the money order was worthless.

"The entire transaction was bogus,” Ouelette said. “The buyer never had any intention of buying anything. The intent was to get the seller to wire transfer the money."

Some words of advice from Ouelette: "Consumers need to be aware that whenever you are selling something on an online auction site and you get a payment for more than what you asked for -- it's probably a scam."

In this case, a red flag went off for the seller. She contacted postal inspectors and lost no money. Investigators say scams like this one are common.
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