I was victim of the check overpayment scam for the sale of my car. I am selling my car for $7500 on autotrader.com and I receive an email from a Mark Aurrice telling me he has a client who wishes to buy my car(sight unseen) for the agreed price but his client had a cashiers check written out($16,000) for over and above the cost of the car to cover shipping and any repairs that needed to be done.
After receiving the check, I was supposed to wire back the remaining balance to expedite the pickup of the car. d**n! I was so in a hurry to get rid of my car and being a trusting person I didn't even think of this being a scam. I received a cashier's check for $16,000 from a Farmers Bank with a P.O. box address in Kentucky. I always thought that a cashiers check was the same as cash so i didnt think of anything fishy about this check. I am not in the banking business so I didnt know that cashiers check could be frauded.
So I deposited the check in my account at the Mcdowell MOuntain branch of Meridian Bank, even telling the banker that was from a car sale that I just did. She didnt ask me any more questions, NOR EVEN SUGGESTED that I wait til the check clears before withdrawing any money. I believe its partly their responsibility being in the banking industry to verify funds by calling the bank that issued the check. Yes, its mine too but they are the professionals.
Well, the next day withdraw $9,000, approximately $2500 OVER AND ABOVE what I had in my account of my own money!! I then wired the $8500 back to the "shipper"-some lady named Connie Williams. The bank allowed me to withdraw on the cashiers check without holding it first to see if would clear or anything. I mean its a $16,000 check for god's sakes!!! 3 days later I get a call from Meridian Bank telling me the check was fraudulent. I was devastated to say the least. I had just lost everything I had worked for and her response was "oh, thats too bad and you still owe the bank $2500" with a the most unempathetic tone you have ever heard.
Not one bit of attempt to work SOMETHING out. I feel its BOTH of our faults in this matter; my fault for not being more careful and the banks for not holding the funds or NOT EVEN SUGGESTING TO ME I WAIT TIL THE CHECK CLEARS. They are there to protect our money, no? So I called the main branch on Central ave. asking to speak to the President to plead my case and the administrative assistant basically took my plea to speak to him with the same tone and empathy as the other lady.
Remember, at this point I am just trying anything to save my money and my sanity. Again, no attempt to admit fault on their behalf saying its completely my fault and they are not required to hold funds on a cashiers check. Maybe they should be! I mean a $16,000 check comes in from a P.o Box in Kentucky and they dont hold funds?!
I then called the Phx Police dept to find a complaint and they wouldn't do anything because it was an internet crime. The policeman's attitude was basically youre screwed, the money is long gone. I couldnt even file a police report. So what now? I just lost everything in my savings and $2500 of the money I withdrew from the cashiers check, again over and above what I had in my account at the time.
I did file a complaint online with FBI. Moneygram, who I wired the money through, would not release to me the location of the money pickup without a police order. hell, I cannot even get the police to take this seriously so how am I supposed to get a police order? ugghh!!
I admit its partly my fault for being so gullible and stupid but there has to be banking regulation established to help protect others from this sort of thing happening again. For example, anything over $1,000 is not available til the funds are verified. If the customer gets mad, who cares? Tell them to call me and I will set them straight. It PROTECTS us from this sort of thing. Better to be safe than sorry. I just cannot believe there isnt a "law" that a person cannot withdraw funds from a cashiers check without first having it clear both banks.
I dont think its my responsibility in this matter to pay back Meridian the $2500 I "owe them". We are BOTH victims. I accept my fault and they should acknowledge their lack of security protection on my behalf. They are not doing this at all. They are no accepting any fault in my losing everything in my savings.
Can you help me try to catch the perpetrator(s) or at least try to prevent others from being victims of this sort of crime? Also, there HAS to be some banking regulation established surrounding cashiers check since as I realize now they can be fraudulent and its happening all over the place.