Online Sellers beware: Central Texan tells of 'buyer' scam - KXXV Central Texas News Now

Online Sellers beware: Central Texan tells of 'buyer' scam

(Source: KXXV) (Source: KXXV)

'Tis the season for those full of joy, but it's also the most wonderful time of the year for scammers.

Typically, online scammers prey on people who shop online, but they are also lurking on websites where people sell as well.

Loretta Hamby said she had high hopes when she decided to sell her washer and dryer on Craigslist for $500. But that hope soon turned into disbelief when she encountered an online scammer.

"I thought, 'wow, that's gonna really help because...I'm on a very limited income and I could use that extra $500'...I was thrilled to death," she said. 

Hamby said within a matter of time, a potential buyer contacted her.

"We texted, never talked one time, we just text back and forth," Hamby said. "He said he would send me a cashier's check for the $500."

Hamby said she was excited about making the sale, until the cashier's check came in the mail.

"It was for $1680 and I thought, 'wow,' " she said. "[I thought] something isn't right because no one would send that much money," she added.

The hopeful seller said even though she was suspicious about the check, she decided to get it cashed at her bank and that's when she got the shock of her life.

"When they came back, they said, 'Ms. Hamby, it's no good -- this is a scam' ...I got a little angry because someone would do this," she said.

David Hicks is the President and Chief Operating Officer at American Bank and he said scammers are more active during this time of the year.

"We see a little bit more activity during the holidays," Hicks said. "I would not accept a check from someone I did not know, for any large amount of money."

Hicks said there are several things anyone can do to try to avoid scammers who act like they're trying to buy things online.

"One of the things that you can do at a bare minimum is ask for identification...try to deal with cash when you're dealing with someone you don't know," he said. "Be alert, when in doubt -- ask. Know the person that you're dealing with on the other end, ask for references, and ask to meet them at a bank," he added.

Hamby said she's still trying to sell her washer and dryer, but she has a different approach for anyone else who tries to buy it.

"I have to have the $500 in my hand -- cash, before I'll let it go," Hamby said.

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