CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - People are losing thousands of their hard earned cash to bogus Craigslist ads.
Chesterfield police tell us they see it happening way too often and want to send out a warning. Police said people fall for these fraudulent ads or the crook's antics several times a week.
It has nothing to do with the Craigslist site, but deals that are too good to be true. It's happening to people who've posted ads or responded to them. The person on the other end isn't on the up and up.
"You're taking a risk any time you use EBay or Craigslist anything where you don't know the person," said Corporal Scott Gordon with Chesterfield Police Crime Prevention.
One scheme involves bogus hard luck stories.
"They're posing as a soldier going to Afghanistan or Iraq saying they really need to get rid of this but it's totally fake they never had a vehicle to begin with never had an item to begin with they just wanted your money," said Gordon.
Crooks also prey on your ads. For example, you're trying to sell your car for $2,000 and someone makes an offer but sends $500 too much, claiming a mistake was made.
They want their money back and you send it. But their original check never clears and you're out $500.
"It sounds all legit but it really isn't that's a big flag we see," Gordon said.
Police warn to only buy and sell locally. Never use money orders or Western Union.
If you do accept a check, police said have your bank hold onto it for two to three weeks to make sure it's not a fake.
Police also warn against inviting people to your home for Craigslist transactions. You should meet in a place where there are plenty of people around.
Police tell us these cases are hard to trace, but Craigslist will pull the ad if the company is aware that it's false.