GREENWOOD, Ind. – A woman who tried to sell a sentimental item online says she wants other people to know about the buyer who she thinks tried to scam her into sending the item and cash.
Betty Hoskins thought she'd found a good home for the custom diamond ring she was selling for $4,500. A man on the website Let Go told her through an online message that he wanted to buy the ring for his wife.
This wasn't the first time she had sold a piece of jewelry online. Typically, Hoskins closes her online sales in person at a safe place.
"Usually if they ask me for my phone number or my address, I don’t give it to them. I tell them I’ll meet you at the jewelry store or I’ll meet you at the police department," Hoskins said.
In this case, though, the man told her he was in Florida. Hoskins made an exception and agreed to a selling price of $4,000. The man sent her a check, but it was for the original amount of $4,500 and it came in a woman's name. He claimed it was from his wife because he had been sick.
Hoskins initially agreed to send back the extra $500 with the ring, but the more she looked at the check, the more she became suspicious.
"Something in my gut told me not to trust it, so I didn’t trust it," Hoskins said.
The buyer told Hoskins that the check was from his bank, similar to PayPal, but when she called the 800 number listed on the check, it rang to a company's customer service line. The person who answered didn't give Hoskins much information, but she did give her a warning.
"She finally said, 'I really can’t tell you anything. All I can tell you is at this time, that check won’t cash,'" Hoskins said.
Hoskins also confirmed with her bank that the check appeared suspicious. In the meantime, the buyer started pushing her to send him the ring and money, claiming that the money was already in her account. Hoskins ended up sending him a message saying in part, "The bank said your check was a scam. ... I'm going to let police (know)." She hasn't heard from the buyer since then.
"You have to be on the watch on people all the time, and that’s a terrible thing," Hoskins said. "They might as well just come up and take it off your hand. Either way, they’re trying to steal it."
While Hoskins was sending messages back and forth with the supposed buyer, the website Let Go did issue warnings that said meeting in person and sticking to cash is the best method to sell online and, "We recommend against deals that require shipping and online payment."
The Federal Trade Commission also warns that if you are selling items online and receive a check for more than the agreed amount, and the buyer wants money back, it is most likely a scam. You can find more information about check scams at this link.