YUKON, Okla. — A Yukon man is frustrated after falling victim to a scam artist.
All he wanted to do was sell his scooter; instead he ended up losing about $3,500 to a scammer.
George Phillips thought he had sold his scooter.
A buyer from overseas purchased it a couple of weeks ago, even sent him a check.
Nervous at first, he took it to his bank and they released the funds to his account.
Then days later the buyer backed out and asked George to refund the money.
He wired the refund, $2,500.
A couple of days later his bank called saying the check was, in fact, fake.
Phillips said, “I said, ‘How could that check be fake? You released the money into my account?’”
The Attorney General’s Office said when it comes to transactions with strangers, remember you should never wire money.
Tom Bates, with the Attorney General’s Office, said, “Whenever they ask you to wire money, that should be red flag, red flag, red flag. Do not wire money!”
Unfortunately, George had used some of the money to pay off a few things.
He ended up having to take out a loan to pay back his bank since he had sent the refund to the buyer.
Meanwhile, his scooter is still for sale.
He dropped the price.
It’ll be a bit of a loss, but at this point, he just wants someone to buy it so he and his family can move forward.
Phillips said, “It’s put us in a big crunch. Fortunately, we’ve got family to help us out along the way.”
We did some checking on why the bank holds no responsibility in this case for releasing the funds to George.
Turns out, banks are protected in this case.
It is up to the bank whether to initially release the funds.
They usually base the decision on a customer’s history.
However, just because the funds are released does not mean the check has cleared.
The bank can recall that money at any point.
The Attorney General’s Office recommends, even if the funds are released, to wait until the check clears to use the money.