05/29/2011 12:25 EDT | Updated 07/29/2011 05:12 EDT

Nationwide Scam Warning Issued Over Bogus University Cheques

(CBC) -- A fraudster is duping people across Canada with fake cheques that seem to be from the University of Western Ontario, authorities say.

The scammer mainly sends the counterfeit cheques as payment to people selling goods and services online. The cheques are for more than the sale price, so the swindler asks the recipients to cash them and send back the difference.

Campus police at the London, Ont., university as well as the local municipal force said a "large number" of the phoney cheques have been cashed "in various parts of Canada by unsuspecting individuals who believe the cheques to be legitimately issued."

In a statement on Friday, the university confirmed that the cheques are bogus.

The scam is a frequent type of cheque fraud perpetrated in internet transactions.

The website Craigslist, the world's largest classifieds service, warns users that "fake cashier cheques and money orders are common, and banks will cash them and then hold you responsible when the fake is discovered."