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The Mountaineer Online

Sellers beware: Online scams will cost you

Kristen Bell
Financial Readiness Program Educator
With the financial uncertainty we are experiencing, Soldiers, DOD Civilians and their Family Members may decide to sell possessions or assets to pay bills or to purchase new items. Online sales sites such as Craigslist and eBay are available for consumers to buy, sell and trade merchandise.
Unfortunately, there are many unscrupulous scammers who prey on people using these sites. The local military community is not unaffected by these scammers.
Fort Drum Financial Readiness Program has experienced an increasing number of reported cases resulting from this type of scam.
For example, one of the newest scams occurs when a legitimate seller posts an item for sale. The potential buyer (scammer) agrees to the price of your item but “mistakenly” sends a money order for a sum higher than the asking price of the item. The buyer (scammer) then requests that the “extra” money be wired back to them.
The seller deposits the money order in bank, and the bank authorizes funds to be drawn. The seller then sends the item that sold and the “extra money” to the buyer.
Soon, the bank realizes that the money order was fraudulent and reverses the transaction, which withdraws the deposited money out of the seller’s account. This results in the seller not only losing the item sold but also money out of his or her checking account, which could then lead to nonsufficient fund fees and late fees for other transactions.
When using these sites, take the time to read the warnings and make sure that you understand the potential for loss.
Some important things to keep in mind: meet the buyer in person, never wire funds, verify with your bank that the deposit has cleared before spending any of the money, and never give out personal or financial information.
The Financial Readiness Program office is now located at 10288 4th Armored Division Drive. If you need assistance, call 772-2919.

The Mountaineer



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This Army Civilian Enterprise Newspaper is an authorized publication for members of the U.S. Army. Contents of the Fort Drum Mountaineer Online are not necessarily the official news of, or endorsed by, the U.S. Government, the Department of Defense, Department of the Army, or Fort Drum.