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ELKO – Local merchants beware.

Elko Police Department reported Monday that scammers are trying to fleece operators of businesses that sell goods on local websites.

“We have had multiple reports of people from outside of Elko attempting to make purchases of items for sale on local websites and sending checks in excess of the amount they paid for the item,” said Lt. Mike Palhegyi. “The subject will then state the overage was an accident and they will subsequently request the person who received the check to return the overage to them.”

The scammer might request the overage be returned using methods such as gift cards, Western Union or money orders.

“This is definitely a scam and the original check will not clear, leaving the victim out the ‘overage’ amount they sent to the suspect,” Palhegyi said.

Police advised merchants to be cautious of subjects sending checks in excess of the amount of an item they have advertised.

Money orders and electronic funds transfers are much safer when conducting transactions with people outside the Elko area, police said.

It’s also a good idea to make certain funds have cleared before shipping items to buyers.

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