I was reminded just how sleazy the world can be this past week when a conman tried to take advantage of my mother who was trying to sell her personal mobility scooter online.
Thankfully, unbeknownst to him, he was communicating with me, not my mother.
It all started innocently enough as I placed my mom’s Go Go Elite mobility chair (it’s like a Hoover Round) on LSN. She bought it a while back and has now decided she doesn’t want it so, since it’s still like new and barely been ridden, she put it up for sale for $650. Fortunately, I put my number as the contact.
Just a day later, I received a text from an out-of-state phone number, an area code that is actually registered to the New York area. Alarm bells immediately start sounding. The man says he has seen the ad on LSN and feels it is a good price and he will take it. Alarm bells are sounding louder. No negotiation despite it saying the price is negotiable? He wants it sight unseen with only a picture to go by. Plus, there’s this odd wording in the text that I’ve seen in cons like the Nigerian scam where the scammer isn’t even from this country.
I tell mom we have a bite, but I warn her that I smell a rat. The guy is maintaining he has a financial advisor who he will have send us a cashier’s check and then he will arrange for pickup of the item.
Well, the guy is true to his word. He sends a cashier’s check and immediately texts to tell us it is in her mailbox. My mom pulls the check out and …
“You aren’t going to believe this,” she tells me over the phone.
“Let me guess, he made it for a $1,000 over the amount,” I respond, my insight leaving my mom stunned.
“How did you know?” she asks as she looks at the check for $1,650.
How did I know? It’s an age-old con. The conman sends you a check for a lot of money over what you’re supposed to get. He then has you send him a check for the overage, allowing you to keep a generous amount. The problem is, the check you have isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.
I did a search of the bank on the check. It was real but the business from where it was drawn in Miami, according to my scan of the street on Google Earth, was an Elk’s Lodge.
I text this clown back and he maintains the extra was to pay his transport guy. I point out the holes in his story and he starts to get aggressive, telling me to just do what he said. At this point I tell the guy he needs to be thankful I can’t find him or he would need the Go Go Elite personal mobility chair permanently.
Anyway, we have a Go Go Elite for sale, negotiable, but I want to know who I’m selling to … cash only please.
Standard reporter Duane Sherrill can be reached at 473-2191.