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Lichfield and Burntwood residents warned over sale scam

Lichfield and Burntwood residents are being warned of a nationwide scam targeting people who sell goods on the internet, in magazines or local newspapers.

The fraud involves the buyer sending a cheque for the item which is significantly higher than the asking price. They then instruct the seller to forward the additional money to a shipping agent via Western Union credit transfer. The seller banks the cheque, which appears to have cleared, and sends on the additional money only to find that the cheque was fake and that the money they sent has been taken.

Numerous Staffordshire residents have been targeted, including, most recently, a Cannock woman who was selling her horse online for £1,350. She was sent a £2,900 cheque and asked to forward the difference to a shipping agent. But she grew suspicious and did not forward the additional cash, or send the horse, and reported the matter to police.

Staffordshire Police fraud investigator DC Neil Powell, said:

“These fraudsters, who are usually from foreign countries, have no intention of buying the goods advertised and are only interested in conning people out of large amounts of money. A tell-tale sign is that their emails often include poor English or bad grammar.

“If anyone receives a cheque which is higher than the asking price, they should check its legitimacy with their bank and always be cautious. You have to ask yourself why someone you don’t know is trusting you with thousands of pounds of their own money?. If something seems too good to be true, it usually is.”

People can report such crimes to Staffordshire Police on 0300 123 4455.

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Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.