(July 21, 2004) -- LBPD says in a written release that its Forgery/Fraud detail has been flooded with calls in recent weeks regarding a scam involving the internet and counterfeit cashier's checks.
In every inquiry, the victim placed an ad on an internet web site, typically to sell a particular item like a vehicle. A prospective buyer, purportedly in West Africa, says he/she wants to purchase the item...and when the seller agrees to the buyer's offer, the buyer tells the seller that shipping costs will be included in the item's overall price.
For example, if the seller asks $4,000 for a car, the buyer will add $3,000 for shipping to the total of a cashier's check...and (in the example) a cashier's check totaling $7,000 is sent via overnight express to the seller.
The buyer, via email, tells the seller to deposit the cashier's check, withdraw the amount earmarked for shipping and wire that sum ($3,000 in the example) to a third party "shipping agent" usually in Texas, Florida or New York.
Seven to ten days after the seller deposits the cashier's check, the depositing bank notifies the accountholder that the cashier's check was counterfeit...and in most cases, the financial institution will require the accountholder to repay the bank for the amount withdrawn ($3,000 in the example).
In one reported case, a victim placed rental property on an internet property rental site and the prospective renter forwarded a counterfeit check as payment.
"Residents should use extreme caution when coordinating any transactions via the internet, particularly when cashier's checks are involved. If you should have any questions or suspect a cashier's check may be counterfeit, please contact the Forgery/Fraud Detail at (562) 570-7330."