Pith & Vinegar: Awkward Simile Edition

• You should definitely be suspicious if someone overseas wants to buy your car, pay you twice the asking price, and then have you send back the difference. [WP]
• Dealnews was named #24 in PC World’s 100 Best Products of the Year. We knew there was a reason we linked to them every morning. [DealNews]
• Gas prices to fall throughout June as oil companies ease the knife out slowly. [LAT]
• Get a bed with a sheet on it, a nice sheet and not, you know, something else. [Tribune]
• Is renting for suckers? Depends on what math you do. [InvestorGeeks]
• Vonage offered shares to customers before the IPO. Now that the stock tanked, customers are balking at paying up, and Vonage may pursue payment, which is sorta like breaking the knuckles on your amputated arm. [NYT]

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  1. sanloublues says:

    I think you guys missed the point on the first article.
    The guy was suspicious, but the bank told him twice that the check had cleared before he did anything.

  2. No matter what math you do, renting is not as advantageous as ownership for people who don’t move every few years.

    All the expenses mentioned in the article, especially taxes and mortgage interest (which are deductible anyway) are still being paid by renters…just paid through their landlord.

    I’d take a $1000/month mortgage payment over a $1000/month rent payment anyday…It may require more work and responsibility, but at least I’ll get some of that money back.

  3. OkiMike says:

    The Washington Post article on check fraud was interesting because I have just such a check in my hands. It was sent to me by a guy wanting music lessons for his daughter who would be visiting my country in the coming weeks. He sent me $6000 (double my normal fee) and asked that I wire back half.

    That is was a scam had crossed my mind, but more than that, I was too busy to go to the bank and get a money order. I was also outraged that he would be such a fucking idiot to make such an obvious mistake and said, “No. You can resend a check for the correct amount and I’ll rip this one up.”

    Not surprisingly, I never heard from him again.

    It’s only too bad I couldn’t have pulled some kind of P-P-P-Powerbook reverse scam on his ass.

  4. Hooray4Zoidberg says:

    “I think you guys missed the point on the first article.
    The guy was suspicious, but the bank told him twice that the check had cleared before he did anything.”

    Ah, but that is the key element in the classic used car scam. They count on you verifying the check before sending them back the money. When you get a fake check and deposit into your account, your bank will post the money to your account before it really clears with the issuing bank. Since your bank does not have access to the issuing banks records they cannot verify that check is valid, but since the burden is on you if it isn’t they post the deposit amount before it’s verified.

    Banks work in this manner so that there is minimal lag from when you deposit a check and when you recieve the money, otherwise you’d have to wait a week to access money from any check you cash. With foriegn banks it can take up to 2 weeks for the check to actually get rejected since it cannot be verified until they recieve the physical check or an IRD(since the Check 21 act went into affect 2 years ago).

    The people who get burned by this scam usually cash the check, see their account balance go up 2 days later and then they assume it’s legit. The scammer is counting on that trick as most people are at least smart enough to cash the check before sending $4k back in the mail. By the time the check bounces 2 weeks later your money is enjoying the weather in Nigeria.

  5. Hooray4Zoidberg says:

    “I think you guys missed the point on the first article.
    The guy was suspicious, but the bank told him twice that the check had cleared before he did anything.”

    Ah, but that is the key element in the classic used car scam. They count on you verifying the check before sending them back the money. When you get a fake check and deposit into your account, your bank will post the money to your account before it really clears with the issuing bank. As your bank does not have access to the issuing banks records they cannot verify that check is valid, but since the burden in on you if it isn’t they post the deposit amount to your account before it’s verfied with the other bank. Banks work in this manner so that there is minimal lag from when you deposit a check and recieve the money. Otherwise you’d have to wait a week or two to access money from any check you cash.

    With foriegn banks it can take up to 2 weeks for the check to actually get rejected. The people who get burned by this scam usually cash the check, see their account balance go up 2 days later and then they assume it’s legit and the scammer is counting on that.

    You aren’t safe unless the issuing bank clears the check.

  6. Hooray4Zoidberg says:

    bah sorry for the double post. Ignore the second one, it was a previous edit accidently posted.

  7. Grady says:

    http://www.google.com/search?q=bogus+check+scam

    It’s like someone being outraged to find out that the rolex they bought from the guy on the street for $20 isn’t real.