Greenfield police warn Hoosiers to be on the lookout for online scammers this holiday season

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GREENFIELD, Ind. — Greenfield police are warning residents to be wary of online scammers this holiday shopping season. This comes after several residents tell FOX59 a potential scam is going around on Facebook.

Loreen Trent is one of at least six women who showed up to the Hancock County Public Library on September 11 to find out the front desk had no record of the class she was about to take.

“There was about five of us and we were all looking around for [our instructor,]” said Trent. “Right away I thought, ‘Oh my goodness! I just gave her my $120 and it’s gone!'”

Trent said she saw a social media post on a local community Facebook group offering blanket-knitting classes. She said she assumed the classes were locally run, so she signed up for a class on September 11 and was asked to pay $120 upfront.

However, Trent and several other women claim their instructor, Hannah Armpriester, never showed up and failed to respond to messages asking when she would arrive.

“We just said, ‘Well we need to call the police and let them know we’re being scammed,'” said Trent.

Text messages show Trent requested a refund that same day, but Armpriester failed to issue her refund for several weeks.

“I texted her again and said, ‘Hey, I don’t have my money. What’s happened?’ And she said she couldn’t send it to me because she was out of town for the weekend,” Trent said.

Nearly two months later, Trent said she finally received her refund earlier this week.

Shortly after FOX59 contacted Armpriester for an interview, other paying customers spoke out saying they, too, finally received their refunds.

“I understand their concerns, but I am definitely not a scam artist,” said Hannah Armpriester who agreed to an interview in hopes to clear the air.

Armpriester said her business, Hannah’s Farmhouse Designs, had been hosting blanket-knitting classes for the past year and a half with no issues.

“The word scammer or thief is definitely something I would never want written by my name,” said Armpriester. “I definitely have more morals than that.”

The Greenfield Police Department admits it is hard to classify this as a potential scam. Still, they encourage this to be a lesson learned for all Hoosiers to be careful where they spend their money this holiday shopping season.

“Make sure that you’re doing your homework as best as you can before you start sending anybody money,” said Deputy Chief Chuck McMichael with the Greenfield Police Department.

Deputy Chief Chuck McMichael recommends keeping the following tips in mind when buying items online:

  • Always purchase online items using a credit card, not a debit card.
  • Shop only on secure websites that have a “padlock” icon next to the web address
  • Make sure the website you are using starts with “https” and not just “http”
  • If you do buy something online from a stranger, complete the transaction at the police department’s designated e-commerce exchange site and make sure to bring a friend.

Trent said she has not used social media to make any purchases since this incident. She said she plans to be more careful when shopping or ordering things on Facebook in the future.

“And if I did want to order something I think that I would call that person first, talk to them, maybe go to their business – you know – I’d do more research,” said Trent.

“From here on out I’m going to be definitely more organized and have things figured out a little bit sooner,” said Armpriester. “The communication on my part could have 100% been a little bit better and that is definitely why we’ll be changing our form of communication over instead of using Facebook for all of that.”

Armpriester said she has hosted dozens of blanket-knitting classes in the past – all of which have been successfully held. She said she plans to continue offering her services, but only after building a new website and streamlining better business practices.

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