This scam started earlier this year. The college involved says that back in February, as many as 40 consumers fell victim to it. Then the reports tapered off, but the school is now seeing a sudden resurgence in complaints. The campus safety director tells Action News he knows of about 100 people who got ripped off just this month and he believes there are hundreds more.
"Everybody has it hard right now, it's a bad economy, that doesn't mean you can steal from people, that doesn't give you the right ," Sarah Shover of Pine Hill, New Jersey said.
Sarah Shover put a couch up for sale on Craigslist for $450.
A woman responded and promised to send Sarah a check to hold the item.
"I came home from lunch today, I received a check in the mail for $2,850 from a college out in Wisconsin," Shover said.
Sarah says the woman from Craigslist said because she was buying merchandise from Sarah and a woman in Las Vegas, Sarah should deposit the entire amount, keep the $450, then wire the rest of the money to the other seller.
But Sarah says before depositing the check, she realized something wasn't right so she called St. Norbert College, the school listed on the check and talked to someone in the finance department.
"She said it was a fraudulent account, those check numbers are not in our sequence and the account number is not our account number," Shover said.
Craigslist has this common-sense advice to avoid scams and fraud: Deal locally with folks you can meet in person and never wire funds via Western Union, Moneygram, or any other service to someone you don't know.
Also, never give out your financial information.
Avoid deals involving shipping or escrow services.
And remember, fake checks and money orders are common, but banks will cash them and then hold you responsible.
THE IT FACTOR
Jim Barry of the Consumer Electronics Association tracks the hottest gadgets and says this holiday season the "It" item will be "electronic books" or eBooks.
The Kindle retails for around $350 and allows you to download books wirelessly.
Barry also likes the Astak Pocket Pro and Sony's EZ Reader.
Both retail for around $200.
"Netbooks are one of the hot area of notebooks and notebooks is the hot area of computers and they're inexpensive, small, light, get you on the internet," Barry said.
Barry likes the Sony VAIO which retails for around $500.
The Myine Ira Internet radio plugs into any speaker system and costs about $150 with no monthly service charge.
"As long as you have Wi Fi, it accesses 11,000 radio stations from all around the world," Barry said.
Camcorders are also getting smaller, and lighter, plus fashion forward.
A high-def one from DXG retails for around $150.
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