WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Frank Woods had a kayak he wanted to sell, so he posted it online.
His asking price was $500 and someone quickly responded.
“She almost immediately offered me full price and was going to send me a bank check plus some extra money,” Woods told Call 12 for Action.
He was suspicious and told the buyer not to bother, but a check showed up in the mail anyway.
“The check ended up being for $2,050,” Woods said. “I was instructed to cash the check and pay the mover when they came to get the kayak since the supposed buyer was not in town.”
Woods knew he was in the middle of a scam.
If he had cashed the check, it would have bounced and he would have been on the hook for the entire amount.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), scams involving fraudulent checks are common.
Woods reported the incident to the Northeast Credit Union in New Hampshire where the check supposedly came from.
Over the summer, the credit union issued a warning on its website after it received multiple reports of members and non-members receiving similar fraudulent cashier’s checks in the mail. The credit union said people should never try to deposit the fraudulent checks.
In Woods’ case, the scammer didn’t give up when Woods tried to stop communication.
Weeks after the fraudulent check arrived in the mail, Woods received an email from the scammer threatening FBI and CIA involvement.
“You have refused complete the transaction as we agreed,” the sender wrote. “You will be arrested for trying to scam me.”
“It’s totally bizarre,” Woods said.
The FTC says anyone who is selling items should be cautious; never accept a check for more than the asking price, never wire money back to a buyer, and consider an alternative way for the buyer to pay like an escrow service that has been vetted.