Check scam targets Craigslist sellers in Harwood

Published: Jul. 25, 2019 at 4:09 PM CDT
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We've heard it all before: you get a check in the mail in an amount larger than whatever you're selling. You deposit the check and use the remaining money to buy whatever is asked. The money is overdrawn. You've been scammed. But a family in Harwood, N.D. says they were almost duped in a less common way.

We often hear about scammers posting false listings on sites like Craigslist. But this time a local couple tells us they were trying to sell something, and someone claiming to be a buyer tried to scam them.

Tammy Ludwig of Harwood, N.D. says she and her husband posted a stove on Craigslist for $350. A man texted them saying he'd like to buy it and sent a check for $1,990—saying the remaining money would go to delivering the stove back to him. Not only that, but the texts came from a California phone number. The Bank of America check was from Long Island City, N.Y. And it was sent from Valley Cottage, N.Y. Meanwhile, the texts came from a "Larry" and the snail mail came from a "Donna."

That's when the family smelled scam and called our Whistleblower Hotline. Ludwig says she’s heard of scams coming from supposed sellers on Craigslist. But not buyers.

"I'm a normal person too,” Ludwig said, “and I fell victim to this hoax. And anybody goal is just to let others know that this can happen to you also."

Luckily she and her husband caught it before it cost them any money.

We tried calling the California number, but it went straight to voicemail. We left a message just in case someone wants to call us back.

Local banks say if you ever question a check sent, you should bring the check in. The bank can put a hold on it, or advise you not to use the check until it's cleared.