Area resident Don Phillips almost became the victim of an Internet scam recently.

Phillips advertised a rental property on Craig's List.

“I got an email from a man in England who seemed very interested in the property,” Phillips said.

However, although Phillips' rental home was furnished, the alleged prospective renter said he wanted “French Provincial” furniture and he was going to send Phillips a check for the furniture, as well as $2,000 for the first and last months' deposit.

Phillips said he told the man the furniture in the house was already good and if the “renter” wanted to get new furniture when he and his wife arrived, they could do it then.

“Had he not been so insistent about it, I might not have been suspicious,” Phillips said. “But the way he was acting really sent up red flags.”

The scammer sent Phillips a check for $6,900 with instructions for Phillips to deposit the check and send him a money order for $4,900 back.

Phillips said the check, which arrived by registered mail, looked very real, but he was suspicious, so he took it to the bank and had them run it through their fraud department.

His suspicions were confirmed when it turned out that the check was fraudulent.

Internet scams are very common, and local law enforcement officials warn that citizens should be very careful when making transactions over the Internet.

A good rule of thumb, according to officials, is to never deal with people from another state or another country when selling items on Craig's List.

In addition, citizens should never, under any circumstances, cash a check for more than the amount of the purchase price of whatever they're selling.

“Never give out any personal information of any kind,” Grove Police Chief Mark Morris said. “That includes you name, address, social security number, savings account number, checking account number or credit card number.”

Citizens should contact their local law enforcement agency or the Delaware County Sheriff's Office if they are contacted by anyone asking for personal information, or if they feel they may be victims of an Internet scam.