Sellers Beware: Online Scam in Lubbock - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/31/06

Sellers Beware: Online Scam in Lubbock

Patsy and Jim Hancock did not feel right about a deal they were about to make with a person wanting to buy their car online. The buyer called from Alaska but sent a cashier's check with a postage stamp from England. "That seemed weird," said Patsy.

Patsy posted her car for sale on a legitimate website called "autolocal.com." She was asking $10,500 for the car but the buyer told her he would send her a cashier's check for $21,000, 11 thousand dollars more than the asking price.

Alliance Federal Credit Union branch manager Jacob Hubik says he knows of three potential victims in the Lubbock area who were asked to do the same thing.

"Who's going to pay more for your car than what you're asking for? It doesn't make any sense," said Hubik.

The man instructed Patsy to cash the check, keep the $10,000 for the car and wire him the rest in cold hard cash to pay for shipping. "The whole idea of wiring money was the main trigger," she said.

That's when she took it to her bank and a bank official told the check was bogus, so she never cashed it.

Soon after, the buyer contacted her by phone and asked if she had cashed the check. "I answered by saying, the check is in the hands of the U.S. Postal inspectors. If you want the check, you'll have to got get it from him. Click, he hung up...and that was it," she recalled.

Hubik says people need to be aware that this type of scam is going on in Lubbock but by crooks who are overseas. "Use common sense. If it doesn't make sense to you or if the deal is too good to be true, it probably is," said Hubik.

As for Patsy, she eventually sold her car...but not online. "We decided after that, we wouldn't sell the car, we would just trade it in," said Patsy.

We contacted Lubbock Police who said they are aware of this type of scam, but because the criminal activity is happening overseas, they tell us it's out of the U.S. authorities' jurisdiction.

If something seems questionable or too good to be true, don't hesitate to call your bank and ask questions first.

The Better Business Bureau
For more information on consumer guidance, business guidance, dispute resolution, and consumer news and alerts; click here to goto the Better Business Bureau's web site.

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