The Wire

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About two hours ago, members of the Barnard community received an email detailing the chilling aftermath of a not-really-successful mail fraud scheme. Apparently, one Barnard student became quasi-entangled in a web of money laundering and stolen identities after trying to sell some text books. The email reads:

“On 2/28/2008, a Barnard College student reported that she had used a Web Site to sell her textbooks.  She was contacted and negotiated a price, $100.00, for the books and requested that the monies be sent to her mailbox at the College.  She received two checks: one for $1900.00 and another for $2500.00.  She began receiving emails and text messages to cash the checks and to keep $300.00 for her trouble; she was instructed to send the remaining monies to the purchaser via Western Union.”

Apparently the fraudulent check will bounce, but the money in the wire transfer will still go through. Or something. Which is somehow bad? (The intricacies of law enforcement elude us.) Also maybe the pseudo textbook purchaser could have stolen her identity. But probably not.

Indeed, a frightening could-be cautionary tale.

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  1. caution

    so here's what happens. she cashes the checks and wires the money to (insert eastern european country here). they get the money, and she is out three thousand bucks.

    so that's why it is bad. because you can never get the western union wired money back.

  2. what rock

    do you live under that you haven't heard about this scam?

  3. Scam Fun  

    This is exactly the same scam that someone used on my friend when she rented out her apartment. The guy made up some really sad story about how he was doing volunteer work with homeless/blind/children someplace in the middle of the desert/jungle, and didn't have access to banks. So he was going to send her a check for like $5000, she should take out her $300, and send the rest back to him in cash so he could fly to NYC.

    She saw the obvious flaws in his story, but many people are fooled by this scam. I mean, he was doing volunteer work! He must be a good person.

  4. Zack

    Yeah, someone tried to pull this on me. It was kind of fun once I figured out what happened. I started asking hard questions and the guy's story got weirder and weirder. I still have those fake money orders. Good stuff.

  5. ...  

    always... always... always... use paypal and credit cards when transacting with randoms over the internet. if they refuse, cancel the deal.

  6. barnard  

    lol barnard bitches... so stupid

  7. red  

    um ... why not just wait 'till the checks clear?

    • blue  

      and keep the money! yay!

    • because

      because the check don't clear, they bounce. and then the bank comes back to you for the money they wired out, and you're down the money. you could probably sue and contest the bank taking the money from you, since they shouldn't have wired the money without verifying the check, but you'd still be down lawyer fees. so umm don't do it in the first place?

      • red  

        okay, let me make it really clear:
        why not just wait 'till the checks clear? (BEFORE SENDING OUT ANY MONEYS)

        • Because  

          Because that would be the smart thing to do. But that could take days, and usually the scammers pressure you to send their $3000 back to them ASAP, "I'll call the police!" etc. Also, many times instead of checks they'll send fake money orders, and with those, you won't realize it was a scam until the bank sends police to your door.

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