Man loses over $1,000 in Craigslist scam

Posted at 7:31 PM, Oct 02, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-07 19:24:16-04

Whenever you buy something online from a person or company you don't know, be careful.

You could end up losing a lot of money.

John, a fraud victim, can`t believe he lost $1,300 in a Craigslist scam.

“I was in search of parts for my Suzuki motorcycle and as I do a lot of Internet shopping,” says John.

John found the parts he wanted on Craigslist 40% cheaper than the usual price. The seller asked to be paid with money orders.

John overnighted the money and was told the parts would be sent immediately. Days turned into weeks and then months. At first, he gave the seller the benefit of the doubt.

“I thought maybe he`s not trying to scam me and just fell on hard times,” says John.

“The buyer was left waiting and waiting for parts that were never going to come,” says Gil Webb, a U.S. Postal Inspector.

“I felt like someone broke into my house and robbed my house,” says John.

Postal inspectors say as more and more people shop online, the number of scams is growing.

“The mindset of the scammer in this case is they want money and they don`t care what it takes to get it. It`s a very emotionless crime that they`re just very greedy,” says Webb.

Inspectors say consumers need to be cautious buying online.

“It`s a red flag when the seller only wants to communicate with you through emails because emails can be very anonymous,” says Webb.

Eventually the seller in this case was arrested and is serving jail time for scamming John along with 14 other people.

“The fact that he is in jail is a victory - not only for me - but also for all of the other people who were scammed by him,” says John.

John also sued the seller.

He won more than $4,000.

Authorities say you should try to create a paper trail when buying online so you have documentation of everything and be sure to get a good phone number from the person selling you the item.