Scam Alert: Beware of online shopping scams

Posted at 4:22 PM, Apr 10, 2015
and last updated 2015-04-10 16:22:22-04

The Internet is a great way to buy and sell almost anything - even a car bumper. That`s what one seller thought.

“I sold him the bumper and 2 or 3 days later, he opened a PayPal claim stating bumper was missing a front grill,” says Muhammad Ikbal, a fraud victim.

The problem: Muhammad`s ad never said the grill was included - the $3,000 price tag was just for the bumper.

But Muhammad was prepared to make it right.

“Send me the bumper back and once I receive the bumper I`ll send you the money back,” says Ikbal.

Nine days later, Muhammad received a tracking number and a notice the package arrived. But when he got to the post office…

“A box was 2x2 and weighed one pound,” says Ikbal.

Clearly, not a car bumper. Muhammad knew something was not right, so he contacted postal inspectors.

“It was basically a race. What the scammer was hoping is he could deceive Muhammad into returning the money before he realized there was no bumper en route,” says Tom Oullette, a U.S. Postal Inspector.

The scam was working.

“He picked a random priority box, filled it with a huge stack of newspapers and presented it to the post office to get a tracking number,” says Oullette.

In fact, Paypal returned the money to the buyer based on the bogus tracking number showing the boxes arrived.

“The buyer had no intention of sending the bumper back. What he was really hoping to do is keep the bumper and get his money back,” says Oullette.