Edmonds police caution citizens about online scam

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The Edmonds Police Department has learned of a scam intended to bilk unsuspecting citizens out of thousands of dollars while responding to ads on Craigslist.

In the criminal cases currently under investigation, citizens became involved in exchanges with strangers on Craigslist for “seemingly legitimate reasons such as employment opportunities, apartment rental, etc.,” Edmonds police spokesman Sgt. Mike Blackburn said. The suspect then asks the intended victim to deposit a check, for a large sum of money, into his or her person bank account, then write a personal check to be sent to a third individual, typically out of state. Victims are told they can keep any money left over from the original check.

“Of course, by the time the victim’s bank processes the original, big-dollar check it’s determined to be fraudulent,” Blackburn said. “The end result is that the victim may end up sending thousands of their hard-earned dollars to an unknown individual who is never heard from again.”

While all of the incidents reported to Edmonds police happened to occur on Craigslist, Blackburn said it’s important to note that Craigslist isn’t the problem. “Those who are willing to scam money from others are the problem,” he said.

The bottom line: If an offer seems too good to be true, proceed with caution.

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