These scams work because they rely on the inherent honesty of ordinary people. That's right - people are scammed because of their own honesty and trust in other people.
The scammers prey on people selling things on the internet or through newspapers or catalogues or auctions or any other means of advertising. Typically, they would start innocently enough, as seen below in Example 1. When the seller responds, then the "payment" terms are mentioned by the buyer and they are invariably a payment document or the promise of a wire transfer or electronic payment of an amount MORE than the asking price of the goods sold. Payment documents include fake or stolen items such as bankers drafts, money orders, postal orders, cashier's cheque, or personal cheques. Other methods of payment include a "Western Union" or "Moneygram" or "Paypal" payment, or a wire transfer (whereby the scammer deposits fake funds into YOUR account). Such a response can be seen in Example 2.
The common thing to be aware of is that these scammers very seldom CARE about the original goods that people are selling. Often they do not even KNOW what it is they are pretending to buy, so it is often easy to catch them out by just asking them a few questions about the things that are being sold. However, this lack of knowledge about the product does not stop them collecting the merchandise whenever possible.
The tragic thing is that people suffer not only the loss of the money, and often the goods (which are often discarded or sold off very cheaply elsewhere), but they suffer again when their banks discover that the payments are fraudulent, for the banks may well choose to demand repayment and/or prosecute the people who had used their bank accounts for paying in these fake funds. This causes hardship, obviously, as people do not expect these unexpected demands for cash, and as a result their credit ratings often would suffer badly as well. Some wholly innocent people have even gone to jail because the courts did not believe them when the banks prosecuted them for fraud. One thing that REALLY upsets me about these scammers is that they often buy expensive pedigree animals with these scams and then either kill, torture or dump the animals out on the road after they have collected the "overpayment" amount. I love animals and I would rather have cars run over the scammers than hurt innocent creatures.
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