BATAVIA – A resident of Morton Street in Batavia reported on Feb. 25 that she was almost the victim of an online scam, according to a police report obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.
The woman told police she was moving and listed items for sale on a phone app, Offer Up, one of them being a home gym for $500, the report stated.
A buyer in Lombard sent her a check for $1,895 from PFM Group Consulting, LLC in Florida with a return address of Inventory Trading Company in Iowa, the report stated.
The buyer instructed the woman to deposit the check and pay a third party shipper, Easy Shipping, $1,395 in cash to pick up and deliver the home gym, the report stated.
The seller was text messaging with the shipper, who stated four men would arrive on Feb. 25 to pick up the gym and accept payment, the report stated.
The woman deposited the check at her bank, First American, in Geneva. She later learned from her bank that the check was fraudulent and the bank canceled the check, the report stated.
According to the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information, fake check scams involve sending a check for more than what is owed – sometimes for several thousand more – usually with instructions to wire the excess back to the sender, according to the website, www.consumer.ftc.gov.
"Don’t accept a check for more than the selling price.You can bet it’s a scam," according to the website.
Usually, by the time a bank realizes the check is fake, the victim has already sent the excess cash to the scammer, and then is also stuck paying the rest back to the bank, according to the website.