The internet can be an amazing place to look up information, connect with friends and family via social media, or shop online. There are always new platforms and technologies emerging, and scam artists seem to be manipulating the internet to their advantage. Two stories out of Washington recently illustrate how online scams are on the rise.
Covington Couple's Counterfeit Cash
Casey Klaudt of Covington, Washington, decided to sell his old dirt bike to raise a little spending money for a vacation. He advertised the dirt bike and a piece of welding equipment on the app OfferUp. He had traded messages with a potential buyer through the app when suddenly two men in a pickup truck appeared at his house. It was the potential buyer, but he had not told Klaudt he was coming over. The two men said they were interested in the bike and welder, and after the three had talked for a bit, the men paid Klaudt $400 and drove off with the items.
When Klaudt handed the cash to his girlfriend, she immediately recognized the bills as counterfeit because she had been trained to watch out for fake money as a bartender. The two then tried to contact the buyers through the app, but the buyer had changed or deleted his username. That's when the couple called the King County Sherriff's department to report the theft and counterfeit money.
Authorities say that these types of online transactions through apps like OfferUp should never take place at a home residence, but somewhere safe like a parking lot of a police station. Authorities also stressed that you should examine any cash from a transaction for a watermark to make sure it is authentic.
Selling Something That's Not Even Yours
A Spokane woman was looking online for a new place to rent when she found a place on Facebook's Marketplace that seemed perfect: a four-bedroom, three-bath house with reasonable rent. Shareen Ross contacted the landlord and he told her he would have his contractor meet her at the house to do a walk-through. After the walk-through, Ross sent the landlord $2,000 as a deposit on the rental, and he sent her a lease to fill out, saying he would sign it and then make arrangements to do one more walk-through.
After Ross returned the lease, she didn't hear back from the landlord. Two weeks went by, and Ross's messages to the landlord were not answered and the phone number she had for him was discontinued. Then Ross saw that the house was listed for sale.
Ross immediately contacted the realtor, who told her that the house was indeed for sale and that it had most recently been a long-term Airbnb rental. The men who claimed to be the landlord and contractor had been the Airbnb renters.
Defense Attorney Steve Karimi
If you have been accused of scamming someone online, the Law Offices of Steve Karimi can help with your defense. Perhaps your online transaction was perfectly legal, but not the buyer is claiming otherwise. Contact his office today for a consultation at 206-621-8777.