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10 July 2012 @ 01:47 pm
Certified check question  
Are certified checks guaranteed to be backed by cash? I think my husband got himself caught up in a Craigslist scam, but I'm not certain.

Background: He posted a set of tires and rims on Craigslist. We live in Texas; someone from California called him and wanted to send a certified check for the tires and rims. Supposedly once we cashed the check, he'd send a truck from his trucking company to pick up the merchandise. At the time, my husband was already waiting on another local guy who had expressed interest, and the local guy ended up buying the tires and rims.

My husband got a text from the California guy that he'd sent a certified check for the tires/rims, so my husband told him they were already sold. The California guy said that he couldn't get the money back from the certified check if we just sent it back to him, so he wanted us to cash the check and refund the money to him.

I think this sounds like a scam. My husband thinks certified checks are guaranteed so it's safe. What do y'all think?

ETA: Y'all think it's a scam, too. Thanks for the feedback! We won't be cashing the check.
bodyssey_road on July 10th, 2012 06:48 pm (UTC)
That is a CLASSIC Craigslist scam. The certified check is fake.
bodyssey_road on July 10th, 2012 06:50 pm (UTC)
I should state the way that this scam works is that you'd deposit the check and send the guy cash.
A few days later the bank discovers that the check is a forgery.
The deposit is withdrawn and you've already sent the cash to the California guy.
Ahavah Ehyehahavah on July 10th, 2012 06:50 pm (UTC)

Pretty much any time someone online wants you to cash a check and send them cash, you can guarantee it's a scam. Also, you'll likely be stuck with the bill and any legal action for trying to cash a fake check.

Also, let your hubby know that no one just sends money ahead of time before an actual deal is struck. He probably shouldn't be giving out your address quite so easily.
A Self-Made Manhugh_mannity on July 10th, 2012 07:56 pm (UTC)

If you're going to do a lot of buying and selling over the internet (other than from big retailers like Amazon.com) then it's worth the time and expense of getting a PO Box, just for the internet stuff.
Ahavah Ehyehahavah on July 10th, 2012 08:00 pm (UTC)
Good advice! Not only that, never give your address to people on Craigslist! Always go out and meet in public for any drop off. I've given my addy to people on freecycle in the past, and that's supposedly not even as nefarious as CL, but after people swiping things that weren't for them, I'm firmly in the "meet in public" camp.
A Self-Made Manhugh_mannity on July 10th, 2012 08:40 pm (UTC)
Meet in public, and bring a friend... Always useful to have a witness.

I've never had that sort of thing go wrong -- so all it's cost me is a coffee or beer for the friend I bring with me.
Lady Crimson Tide: Batzclynne on July 10th, 2012 06:50 pm (UTC)

Have your husband send the check back.

While certified checks are backed by cash, this check could very well be forged. Forged certified checks are a plague on craigslist, the funds get temporarily released and then revoked 2 weeks later when the forgery is discovered.
The Guerrilla Aesthetegrrillaesthete on July 11th, 2012 04:12 am (UTC)
Yep, this exactly. A REAL certified check is (like a money order) backed by cash, if he said he can't get cash back for it, he is lying.
Sarcasticia Nitpickersontisiphone on July 10th, 2012 06:51 pm (UTC)
It's almost certainly a scam. It takes advantage of the relatively long time that the certified check takes to clear, and the fact that most banks will credit it immediately - you deposit the check, assume it's cool, and then a week later you're down whatever amount of cash that you've withdrawn and returned to the person you got the check from. Also, why would someone buy something bulky from four states away? Why would they send a certified check for something they'd never seen or even had a firm commitment to buy? And I've definitely gotten money from a certified check back, you just take it back to the bank and have it voided (it's tagged with the account number it comes from).
(Deleted comment)
lapennlapenn on July 10th, 2012 07:49 pm (UTC)
This. I got one to pay deposits on an apartment once, and I ended up moving somewhere else. I took the check back to the bank and was able to sign it over to myself and put the money back in my account. Just send the check back.
library scientistgindaisy on July 10th, 2012 06:56 pm (UTC)
Scam it up! Tell the guy to take a hike.
Sammy: melibwitch on July 10th, 2012 06:56 pm (UTC)
Craiglist even warns about such scams right at the top of its page: http://binghamton.craigslist.org/about/scams
I am an interactive leaf on the wind!: ass kicking bootsinteractiveleaf on July 10th, 2012 06:58 pm (UTC)
I guarantee you the check is a forgery.
Amandalea724 on July 10th, 2012 07:02 pm (UTC)
I'm actually really glad that you posted this, since I had a similar situation and it seemed fishy, so I told the guy no-go (it helped that my craigstlist post had mentioned I would only take cash, so I felt better about refusing the guy strictly on that), but I had it in the back of my mind that maybe it hadn't been fishy and I just scared the guy off unnecessarily. Reading the comments here makes me feel better that I hadn't gone through with the deal.
tashatashabear on July 10th, 2012 07:42 pm (UTC)
Someone tried an escrow scam on me when I was selling a (dead-common) motorcycle. He tried to tell me that it was "really rare" and that he wanted me to ship it to the PNW. I told him I was only dealing with local buyers.
Jenjenk on July 10th, 2012 07:15 pm (UTC)
Nopebonanzajelybean on July 10th, 2012 11:29 pm (UTC)
Is it possible to take the cash to a bank and ask them to verify it/confirm that the guy can or can't get his money back? Sounds like it's a scam, but I don't see why a bank wouldn't be able to detect a forgery.
Official Last Call Flip Cup Champion: ohsbkmichele on July 11th, 2012 01:41 am (UTC)
Scan. If the check were real he would be able to get his money back. When you get a cashiers check, it's usually linked to you as a customer of the bank, even though it's not really drawn on your personal account.

At work I had an incident a few years ago where a certified check went "missing" from our bank deposit bag. Anyway, we had to get the client to go back to her bank, void the check and have it reissued. Even though it was made out to us, clearly the bank knew who the purchaser was and could act on her word.

If this check arrives, send it back and spend the $4 to send it certified or whatever.
Muriellemurielle on July 11th, 2012 02:48 am (UTC)
All those people who told you it was a scam are right. Tell him you can return the cheque to him, or you can take it to the police. I bet he'll want the cheque back. ;-))
mirhandamirhanda on July 11th, 2012 10:05 pm (UTC)
I love this idea!
Bytchpryncessbytch on July 11th, 2012 04:07 am (UTC)
DON'T DO IT!!!!!!!

I work in a credit union and this is one of the biggest scams that we see. And California Guy could most definitely get his money back if it weren't a big fake.
stemware on July 11th, 2012 05:31 pm (UTC)
Cassidy: pic#103109401casafrass on July 14th, 2012 12:14 am (UTC)
I agree Spam, but what would husband's do without their partners? :)
Cassidy: pic#103109401casafrass on July 14th, 2012 12:14 am (UTC)
scam, not spam. I'm tired and it is Friday.