Spring cleaning & looking to sell items online? Watch out for scams!

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- It's time for spring cleaning -- and perhaps you're looking to sell a few items online. But you may want to think twice before you start taking pictures and posting them online!

EBay, Craigslist and auction sites offer a huge variety of items and services.

The sites are also the perfect place to run a scam. Most notably, counterfeit bank scams.

Here's how it works:

"They get a response via email by someone that says they are very interested in purchasing the item. This is our suspect. They told them they are going to send them a check. They`re going to get a check in the mail," U.S. Postal Inspector Kim Gordon said.

When the seller receives the check, it is for more than the price of the item being purchased -- sometimes hundreds more.

"The suspect calls them again and says 'I sent you hundreds of dollars more - I really need that money to go somewhere else. Would you please deposit the money in your bank account?'" Gordon said.

Then, victims are asked to wire the extra money to an address.

"They find out later from the bank that it was a bad check. It has bounced because it was a counterfeit check, and they are on the hook for all of that money," Gordon said.

Postal inspectors say consumers need to proceed with caution when using auction sites.

"There is a very large warning that appears on Craigslist the minute you submit ad placement. The word warning is there and it says be weary of foreign responders to your ad," Gordon said.

It is important to remember there is no reason for anyone to send extra money for an item. It is a sure sign you may be the target of a scam.


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