Law enforcement officers continue to ask the public not to pay for items or services using pre-paid credit or gift cards. It is a common method by thieves to scam you out of your money. An elderly Clayton man is the latest victim of such a scam in our area.
Last week, the victim said he saw an expensive cell phone for sale on CraigsList for what appeared to be a bargain price of only $600.
He contacted the seller and was told to make payment by using three $200 eBay gift cards. He obtained the gift cards then contacted the seller with the card numbers. The seller later claimed one of the card numbers was invalid and requested an additional $200 eBay gift card.
That’s when the victim became suspicious and notified authorities. The victim didn’t send in the additional $200 but did lose $600 in the scam.
Authorities caution buyers to use caution when they cannot meet the seller in person for various reasons, including commonly used tactics claiming the seller is in the military, going through a divorce, has experienced a recent death in the family, are working out of town or they received the item through an inheritance.
Scammers often push for a speedy completion of the transaction through pre-paid cards or wire transfers. Private sellers offering free shipment on large items is also a red flag.
Watch out for emails or texts with poor grammar, non-personalized responses like “Dear Sir”, unusual email addresses and false invoices with account numbers.
Legitimate sellers will make an effort to meet with you or have someone meet with you to show you the item for sale.