Post Content

Over the past week, the Consumer Hotline has received two complaints about a scam on Craigslist where buyers are scamming sellers out of money and their personal information.

Callers reported being scammed when trying to sell an item on Craigslist. Online buyers would offer to buy the seller’s item and then send them a check for way too much money—two  or three times the correct amount. They then followed up with a letter saying “Oops, I sent too much money! I need you to write me a check back to cover the difference.” The problem is the original check they wrote was fraudulent and they now have the seller’s money and personal information.

The Office of Consumer Affairs advises victims of this scam to contact law enforcement and U.S. Postal Inspectors (1-877-876-2455) to report what happened. The OCA also offers some preventative tips and advice on how to avoid scams like this:

  • Consumers must understand that as sellers on Craigslist, they are under no obligation to put themselves in a vulnerable position where they are giving away personal information.
  • It is fine for sellers to refuse strange requests that could compromise their own financial security.
  • Sellers on craigslist should be skeptical of any requests for a check, bank account information, or any other extra steps that are not part of a normal transaction.

Sellers should always feel free to say no, and know that they can contact The Office of Consumer Affairs if they aren’t sure what to do. The Consumer Hotline can be reached at (617) 973-8787, or toll-free in MA at (888) 283-3757.

The Patrick Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation is committed to protecting consumers through consumer advocacy and education, and also works to ensure that the businesses its agencies regulate treat all Massachusetts consumers fairly. Follow the Office on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer.

Written By:


Will Beaman is a communications specialist at the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.

Recent Posts

Scam Log Analysis – June 2015 posted on Jul 22

Scam Log Analysis – June 2015

The Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation compiles publicly available scam, identity theft, and fraud complaints from around the Commonwealth via police logs, news outlets, and other sources, as well as through the Office’s Consumer Information Hotline. Below is a quantitative analysis of   …Continue Reading Scam Log Analysis – June 2015

Competitive Energy Sellers posted on Jul 16

You have just moved into your new apartment and need to set up electricity service so you call your local utility company (National Grid, Eversource, or Unitil); within hours you are enjoying your favorite television show. One day someone comes to your door and tells   …Continue Reading Competitive Energy Sellers

Using Ticket Resellers posted on Jul 9

With the arrival of summer, many concerts and shows are coming to Boston and the Commonwealth. The Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation (OCABR) cautions consumers who are looking for tickets online to carefully consider the validity of the seller before giving your money   …Continue Reading Using Ticket Resellers