Troubleshooter intercepts Craigslist scam

A woman wanted to make some money and sell her ring. Instead, she ended up caught in the middle of a scam.
January 10, 2014 3:34:42 PM PST
A woman wanted to make some money and sell her ring. Instead, she ended up caught in the middle of a scam.

At one time, the ring was very special to Lee Chavis. Recently, she was looking to sell the ring because she needed some money for the holidays. She put an ad on Craigslist and within minutes, she had a buyer.

"I was excited I sold it and I could use that money for Christmas and to get a new car," Lee said.

It was the first time she had sold anything on Craigslist. Lee exchanged some emails with the buyers, and once the price was set, Lee received an email with payment confirmation that appeared to be from PayPal. All Lee would have to do is mail the ring to the buyer in Nigeria.

"Just the thing they emailed me had PayPal logo on the bottom and you didn't have to worry it was all through PayPal, your money is safe.  I thought it was real, it looked real," Lee said.

Lee went right to the post office in Southern Pines and mailed the ring. The buyer then instructed her to email them the tracking number.

"When I came back and I put in the tracking number to send to them, it didn't go to the site it said it would through PayPal," Lee said. "That's when I got the red flag and said I'm calling you."

I let Lee know that it was a scam. Since it was just hours after she mailed it, I told her to go to the post office to see if they could stop the ring from being shipped to the scammer in Nigeria.

"They said it had already been mailed out and they were not helpful," Lee said.

I got in touch with a rep at the post office and let her know that according to the tracking number, the ring was still in Fayetteville.

In the meantime, Lee was worried because the buyer started sending her threatening emails after Lee didn't email them the tracking number.

"It was terrible because they kept saying they were contacting the FBI. They sent me these forms online that the FBI had been contacted and I would be going to jail or prison if I did not give them the tracking number with the ring right away," Lee said.

I assured Lee it was just scammers trying to scare her and advised her to ignore them.

Meanwhile, the members of the post office came through. They stopped the ring from leaving the post office and got the ring back to Lee.

"I opened it right away and put it on my finger," Lee said.

This would not have happened without some very special people at our postal service. The local rep said that in the spirit of the holidays, the employees at the Fayetteville processing and distribution center were able to stop Lee's package from leaving the center. Typically they only intercept packages for domestic mailings.  We thank these postal employees for making this special effort and going above and beyond.

The best advice, it's very important not to send anything in the mail, especially out of the country, when selling something. It's best to meet the person face to face to complete these types of transactions.  Also, check the emails. Even though they appear to be legit, there are scammers who use PayPal's name and never actually send any money.

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