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Lately, I have been tied up with my moving soon, among others. I got a reply from my ad for moving sale at craigslist, the author of which claims to be currently living on the other side of Atlantic ocean:

Hi, Thanks for your response. I'm going on a vacation to London but I will instruct my assistant to prepare and mail your payment which I'm sure you will get in about 4 - 6 business days. I'll add $20 extra for the delay. I'll pay by M O or cashier check so send me your info (i.e full name, mailing address and your phone number) so payment can be mailed out immediately. I will also make arrangement for pick-up which will be after you must have received and cashed the payment. Awaiting your info. Thanks

I have seen similar scams before, but they send checks instead of money order or cashier check. I later learned that checks are not guaranteed for the payment, but cashier checks and money orders are, since they are made when the payer pays first to the finance institutes that issue cashier checks and money orders. So how can the quoted scam that promises to send me cashier check or money order work, I wonder?

Thanks!

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cashier checks and money orders are guaranteed forms of payment, unless they are forged. And because there is no way to validate them without submitting them to the original financial institution it gives the scammer just enough time to get away. –  JohnFx Jul 11 '12 at 0:14
    
Just find another buyer, the very least, live by the rule "no money no product" –  Ramhound Jul 16 '12 at 14:40
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1 Answer 1

up vote 17 down vote accepted

It's a scam. The cashier's check will be forged. Craigslist has a warning about it here (item #3).

What kind of payment do you think is not fakable? Or at least not likely to be used in scams?

When on craigslist - deal only locally and in person. You can ask to see the person's ID if you're being paid by check

When being paid by check, how can seeing his/her ID help? In case the check isn't cashable, I can find that person by keeping record of his/her ID?

If you're paid by check, the payers details should be printed on the check. By checking the ID you can verify that the details match (name/address), so you can find the payer later. Of course the ID can be faked too, but there's so much you can do to protect yourself. You'll get better protection (including verified escrow service) by selling on eBay.

Is being paid by cash the safest way currently, although cash can be faked too, but it is the least common thing that is faked currently? Do you recommend to first deposit the cash into a bank (so that let the bank verify if the cash is faked), before delivering the good?

For Craigslist, use cash and meet locally. That rules out most scams as a seller.

What payment methods do you think are relatively safe currently? Then getting checks must be the least favorite way of being paid. Do you think cash is better than money order or cashier order?

You should only accept cash. If it is a large transaction, you can meet them at your bank, have them get cash, and you receive the cash from the bank.

Back to the quoted scam, how will they later manipulate me? Are they interested in my stuffs on moving sale, or in my money?

They will probably "accidentally" overpay you and ask for a refund of some portion of the overpayment. In that case you will be out the entire amount that you send back to them and possibly some fees from your bank for cashing a bad check.

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