Craigslist victim reveals Internet rip-off


by Brad Woodard / 11 News

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 4:38 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 20 at 11:04 AM

Craig's List victim reveals new Internet rip-off scheme
August 20, 2008

HOUSTON -- From houses to a date, you can find it on the Craigslist Web site. But one seller almost became a victim when selling his old computer.

Jacob Clark posted an ad on Craigslist to sell his computer for $250. He said it wasn't long before he had an interested buyer.

"He said he was going to send me a check. And he did send a check after I provided him with my address," said Clark.

There was just one problem: It was a check for $2,500, not $250.

"He said it was the bank's mistake. He was notified a couple of hours after the bank had already issued the check and mailed it out," said Clark.

The buyer told Clark to deposit the check and return what was left over from the computer purchase.

Suspicious of the check, Clark brought it to his local Wells Fargo branch, where it was immediately flagged as fraudulent.

But even if the bank had processed the check, it would have been Clark who would have lost the money.

"They would immediately seize the amount the check was for. In addition I'd be out the excess he wanted me to send him," said Clark.

"The consumer is going to get hit with a tremendous amount of money they've lost. It's almost like robbery without a gun. It's robbery through the Internet," said Dan Parsons of Houston's Better Business Bureau.

Craigslist is not involved in any transactions between the seller and buyers, but they do offer numerous tips on avoiding scams.

"After all was said and done, I'd be out $4,700 dollars, when I was trying to make $250 on my computer," said Clark.