UPDATE: Madison police: 2 recent Craigslist deals involve counterfeit money

Updated: Thursday, April 24, 2014 --- 9:15 p.m.

Two women are out hundreds of dollars, after Craigslist deals gone wrong. Madison police say both involved counterfeit money.

The most recent occurred Tuesday, when police say a 19-year-old sold her laptop for $700 via Craigslist. The buyer paid with a stack of bogus $20 bills.

The second occurred last Thursday. Police say a 33-year-old woman ended up with $360 in counterfeit money after selling a GoPro camera to a man who responded to her Craigslist post.

Madison police say whether buying or selling, Craigslist users have to be proactive when it comes to their money and safety.

Some tips include:
-Make sure the transaction is in a well-lit public area
-Be aware that many items online could be stolen property
-Cash is generally the best way to ensure you won't get ripped off, but check over the bills carefully

Police spokesman Joel DeSpain says, had the victims in these most recent incidents followed this last step, they could have saved themselves a lot of money.

"In one of the cases, one of the victims went home and started looking at this money and thought, oh boy, this is not right," he said. "Some of the money was smeared, some of it was off center, it didn't feel right. So she called us. In the second case, we had someone who actually deposited the money into their credit union account, and it wasn't until the credit union called her and told her this is counterfeit money, that she even knew that occurred during the transaction."

Both investigations are still open. Detectives are working to find out if the counterfeit money came from the same pool of fake bills. The descriptions of each suspect were different.

Posted Thursday, April 24, 2014 --- 12:14 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Madison teen has been defrauded after she sold her laptop through Craigslist to someone who paid with counterfeit bills. The incident has prompted a reminder from authorities to conduct Craigslist swaps under safe circumstances.

Madison police say the 19-year-old found a buyer willing to pay $700 for the laptop. They agreed to meet Tuesday about 10:45 p.m. in a grocery store parking lot.

The teen was explaining the nuances of the laptop but says the buyer seemed uninterested.

The buyer paid with a stack of $20 bills. When the teen returned home she realized the bills were counterfeit, with smeared ink and crooked print.

Authorities suggest Craigslist buyers and sellers meet in daylight hours in well-trafficked areas, such as a mall or even a police station lobby.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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