Skip to main content

NJ Police Release Text Messages with Scammer with Hopes of Bringing Awareness to Growing Scam Epidemic


Wanaque police release text messages with scammer with hopes of bringing awareness to a growing epidemic.

The Wanaque Police Department officers decided to sell an antique light/siren unit on Craigslist and quickly realized this could be a good opportunity to show everyone a very common scam that occurs.

According to authorities, they received eight inquiries for the item and they all turned out to be scams.

Police provided images of the text messages exchanged with one of the scammers.

According to officers, they first receive a certified check as promised. The problem was the check was for $1950, not the $550 they agreed upon. After a phone call to the originating bank, they discovered the check was fraudulent. Admittedly, they knew it would b, but they wanted to confirm.

Police added the check looked and felt real with the proper routing number, watermarks and even included the Credit Union address.

Unfortunately, this is quite easy to duplicate. Here are a couple “red flags” to look out for:

1. There was no negotiation. Scammers immediately offered full price.

2. You’re offered extra money for “stress”. Does anyone ever offer you that?

3. In addition, $50 offered for gas money.

That’s a lot of money to drive 2 miles?

4. They will send a certified check. That is supposed to put you at ease because it is not a personal check but from a bank. The only problem is the bank is not aware of this check since it’s fake.

5. The “certified check” came registered mail from “Jak Benson” in Arizona. When I looked up the return address, maybe it was an Arizona Water Company. You may bet; maybe Jak works at the water company right? Well, when I asked the scammer his name, he said James Smith. Time to get their made up stories straight!

6. Grammar and spelling of texts. These scams often originate from other countries, where English is a second language.

7. Have a Blessed Day or God Bless is often used by the scammer. Guess if they are religious they are honest.

8. Very anxious to know when the check clears. Just because your bank accepts the check, it does not mean it is a good check. Money in your account is used to cover the check until it clears, so if you take that money out, it is yours. When it never clears, because it’s a fake check, you are out the money.

9. They tell you to wire the money to a third party shipper who will pick up the item. Now if you are thinking $1350 is a lot of money to ship a $550 item, you would be quite right. If questioned, they have a story for that too. They will say something like, “I’m having other items picked up near you as well. That will cover those too.”

10. The scammer will try and move things along quickly. They need you to send the money before their “certified check” comes back fraudulent to your bank.

11. They may try and scare or reassure you and say that “their” bank already deducted the money from their account so it must be in yours.

Police remind the public that if something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t. If it’s too good to be true….it probably is.

“Don’t let these people take the money you worked hard for.”

If in doubt, call your local police department so they can assist you.