Craigslist Scam Costs a Benton Man Thousands of Dollars

imageLike Many People, Michael Hawes of Benton keeps receipts from most of his transactions, but now that’s all he has.

Hawes was looking to sell some rims he bought for his car. His daughter set up an add on Craigslist, but the rims worth just over $1,000, are costing him a whole lot more.

“We were trying to put the pieces together and that’s when we discovered we knew we had been scammed,” said Hawes.

The buyer, who used the name James Sawyer, sent Hawes a check for $2,900.43. Way over the original asking price. “The rims I posted for $600 and I said it’s awful funny he sent such a big check, but he told me it was to insure the rims and for shipping,” said the Seller.

Hawes deposited the check and wired the rest of the money back to Sawyer, but under a different name. Then a few days later, the buyer sent Hawes another email, saying something went wrong with the first check, so he sent another – this time for $2,000.

Hawes said “The signatures were fake. Some of the spelling on them were fake, but it was just before the holidays. We were in a rush, we never caught any of that.”

Next thing he knew, the Benton man saw negative figures in his banking statement and owed the bank over $5,000 dollars.

The check was fake and so was James Sawyer.

Hawes said he now sees the signs. All of the checks were sent from different addresses and the money needed to be addressed to different people, all signs of a set up.

Maine State Police have taken over the investigation,

Hawes said it’s unlikely he’ll ever see his money again, but he wants to make sure this never happens to anyone else.

According to the attorney general’s website, most fake check scams start though email. The website states consumers should be skeptical if someone wants you to wire back money if they’ve already paid with a check.

If you think you’re a victim of fraud you can call the Attorney General office at 800-436-2131.

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