From Hopatcong Police (Capt. Kmetz). A Local Hopatcong resident tried to sell a MacBook on Craigslist. Almost immediately after posting it she received a message from someone claiming to be a US Marine and needed it for his daughter for Christmas.
The criminal asked that the money goes through PayPal. The victim agreed. The victim did not have a PayPal account and was not familiar with how it worked. The victim received many e-mails that the item must be shipped first before she receives her money. (Later PayPal advised that those e-mails were not from them).
She shipped the item to 473 Mundet Place Hillside NJ. Officer Sadowski Googled that address, and it came back to Imperial Foods. Officer Sadowski called Hillside Police. They advised him that the address is a mail forwarding company.
The criminal contacted the victim stating that he needs to pay her $500.00 and she can refund him. That is when the victim knew this was a scam.
Let’s go over the red flags.
- Almost immediately she received a response for the MacBook. That is weird. My red flag just went up.
- The criminal said he was US Marine. Who cares who you are? The criminal put that in there to put a false sense of security into the victims head. The red flag is flying higher.
- This "Marine" needed to buy the item for his daughter for Christmas. Again, who cares? This is a business deal. He is playing on the victims heartstrings. The flag is flying higher...
- He asked to go through PayPal. Why? Why not just meet and exchange? Now the red flag is blowing in the wind.
- The victim received multiple "verification emails" that the item must be shipped first, before money will be available. HUGE RED FLAG. (Watch the Christmas Carol where Scrooge tells the businessmen, "I do not ship my corn until I have cash in hand". Scrooge may have been a mean old man, but he was good at business. Now we learn two important lessons from that movie)
- The victim had the address but did not use google to look it up. This was an $1100.00 sale. You need to do some research when you are selling on a website. Looking up the address would have raised a red flag. "Why am I sending a MacBook to Imperial foods? US Marines do not work at Imperial Foods. I am taking my red flag home and cancelling this deal. I will wait until someone local can meet me "cash in hand" (And I get their license plate number just in case).
- By the time the criminal said he needed to pay the victim $500.00 only to be refunded, the MacBook was shipped and the crime was complete.
Scammers make mistakes. They are greedy. Here we see a ton of red flags. None were looked into. Time is on your side. SELLER BEWARE. Bah humbug.