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February 21, 2012 09:50 PM

Craigslist Money Order Scam

Sioux Falls, SD


A Sioux Falls woman was using Craigslist to sell items to raise money to pay her bills when she nearly fell victim to a money order scam.
She has a warning for other Craigslist users.

Patti Roberts hoped to sell an antique lamp on Craigslist for $75. She'd already had good luck selling other items.

"I had a larger kitchen table and chairs and I sold that and it was just fine.  A young lady came and got it, no problem," Roberts said.

She got some interest in the lamp right away.

"I got three responses. And there was this one gentleman who said 'I'll pay you $20 extra to hold it for me.' There wasn't anything odd about that," Roberts said.

Then the buyer told her his assistant had accidentally sent two money orders to her.

"Then I got the money orders and they're two money orders for $985 a piece," Roberts said.

He asked Roberts to take out what he owed her and wire the rest back to him.

"So, basically I'm sending him $1600 back," Roberts said.

And did the fact that the so-called buyer had suddenly gone from Arizona to London raise a red flag?

"Did you have concerns or doubts when he said London, yeah but then when you get a money gram you think it's legit. I would always think these are basically cash," Roberts said.

But Roberts discovered otherwise when she took the money orders to her bank.

"So, now he's texting me, going, 'have you taken the money orders to Western Union? Have you cashed them yet? Let me know when the money goes through.' So I text him back, 'The bank wouldn't accept them and the bank said they're no good,'" Roberts said.

And she never heard from him again. Roberts is just glad she didn't go someplace else to wire the money.

"By the time we figured out they weren't any good, they would have come back to me and said you have to cover this loss," Roberts said.

Craigslist does post warnings about such scams.  But a good rule of thumb is never to wire money to someone you don't know.
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