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Internet Based Used Car Scheme

Novi Police Chief today warned Novi residents about a suspected scheme involving the use of counterfeit U.S. bank cashier's checks to buy used cars and other merchandise from consumers selling goods on the Internet.

According to investigators, A popular scam that has victimized many used-car sellers is one in which the con artists target individuals selling merchandise over the Internet, specifically large-ticket items such as cars, motorcycles and boats. The buyer, who is from Africa or other countries, is eager to buy the advertised merchandise, sight unseen, for the asking price. Emails to the seller express an interest in the item and states that the method of payment will be a U.S. bank cashier's check.

ComputerAt the last minute, the buyer makes an excuse for sending a cashier's check that is several thousand dollars more than the price of the item being purchased. The buyer asks the consumer to wire back the difference between the check and the purchase price after the check clears. Once the consumer's bank cashes the check, the consumer then wires the balance to the buyer in a foreign country. Typically within seven to 21 days, the consumer learns from his or her bank that the check was counterfeit and that they must return the full amount to the bank. The buyer never picks up the merchandise, leaving the consumer to repay several thousand dollars to their bank and still owns the merchandise they were trying to sell.

The Police Chief urges residents to be extremely skeptical of any emails from Nigeria, Africa or other countries, offering to purchase items online with a U.S. bank cashier's check. Online sellers are also urged to avoid contact with individuals asking you to send or wire money abroad. He also urges residents that if they receive a check for over the purchase price, do not attempt to deposit the check before confirming the validity of the check. Victims of the cashier's check scam are asked to immediately contact the Novi Police Department or the United States Secret Service office in Detroit.