Selling your Truck - Fake Check scams

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Selling your Truck - Fake Check scams

Post by diyhumm » Tue 16 Mar , 2010 8:56 pm

Hey Chuck,

I can't believe you're selling your pride and joy. I just wanted to pass on some wisdom and perhaps hear your side of it.

You say you want either the money wired to your account or a check to clear. I would advise going with the buyer in person to his own bank and getting a check on the spot, rather than simply accepting a check because it "cleared".

I've noticed that recently the crooks have learned how to make a check "clear" no matter what, and then have it bounce weeks later.

The problem appears to be that the baddies have learned how to defeat the first level of authentication, so that it appears to be a good check (doesn't seem to matter if it's a cashier's or regular check) and you see that it posts to your bank account just fine. You think all is good. The crook then drives off with your vehicle and days or even weeks later you get a call from your bank that you passed them a bad check. The bank holds you responsible and demands the entire amount of money credited back to them. This scam is apparently rampant on craigslist and ebay right now.

I don't know if you know about this or not. Just thought it was worth reiterating. I like your advice of taking a photo of the person who buys your truck holding their check too. That's a good idea a well.

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Re: Selling your Truck - Fake Check scams

Post by chuck » Wed 17 Mar , 2010 7:02 am

You're exactly right. One of my web clients, an attorney almost got caught in a scheme like that. He took on a collection case. He eventually received a check for the funds which was somewhere around 20 or 30k. His client made a case that he needed the money badly and wanted the lawyer to cut him a check immediately which would be out of the lawyers trust account. My guy didn't do it and luckily so because the check was no good.

When I mean cleared I mean the bank has the funds. I think there are new laws now and checks, even out of state clear within days. I sold a porsche on ebay once and the guy wanted to fly in to pick it up on a Saturday. The auction ended late on Friday afternoon and he couldn't wire me the money so he showed up and paid me cash. If you take a cashiers check you go to your bank and have them call the issuing bank to verify that they actually issued the check. I still don't like taking them. That's why I want the money in the bank before the car drives away.
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Re: Selling your Truck - Fake Check scams

Post by drew » Fri 26 Mar , 2010 10:19 am

Any/All checks should be considered "no good"...the bank will process anything.

Here is the ONLY way to accept a cashiers check:
1. The buyer and seller respond to the bank in person.
2. The buyer will commission a cashiers check.
3. Watch the teller/clerk punch out the check.
4. Do not lose sight of the check during the process!
5. The seller personally accepts the check from the teller.

Cash is good, but in a lot of states it is a crime to have an "excess amount" of currency. In CA, I believe, it is still $25K. The cash can be permanently confiscated, the possessor arrested AND suffer a fine.

Wire is good, but generally puts the buyer at a disadvantage.

A trusted escrow service is the only sure way to do business on large or complicated transactions.


While I am at it, we can go over how the buyer can be screwed over:

1. They assume the identity of the person owning the car. They take/make the keys for a car. They go down to dmv and tell them that they lost their ID (giving the owner of the car verbal credentials). DMV will issue a replacement ID with bozo's image on it.

Yeah we have an image of the bozo and a finger print as well. However, the buyer is still at a 100% loss as the car has to be returned to the rightful owner, good luck getting compensation from the bozo. And we are in world where jail time is no big deal and can be worth the trouble to make +$20K.

This even gets more fun with the common names. People out in CA can legally go by several names...of which a combination of their names will match several of their neighbors (in the project's) names. They take their "neighbors" cars and sell it. :)

2. Subplates, similar process to ID, but you tell DMV that you lost the plates on your car. They will issue you new ones. Bozo take those plates and put then on a similar vehicle and sell that one as well.

3. VIN switch. A wrecked car or counterfeit VINS are placed on a stolen car.

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Re: Selling your Truck - Fake Check scams

Post by diyhumm » Sun 28 Mar , 2010 7:36 pm

Yeah, I was trying to point out that even if you call your bank and they say "yes, this is a good check and good bank account with sufficient funds" you have proved nothing.

You can still get screwed over. Weeks or months later, the check that the bank said was good can turn up bad -- and you are on the line for the money.
It's a no win situation.

I agree that the only way to accept a cashier's check is to watch the entire process first hand at the bank.

Selling a car is a lot different than in the the good old days where you shook hands and told the guy to not come back. Ah when life was simple. :)

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