SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

July 31, 2013

Police: Craigslist scams target locals

By Neil H. Dempsey
Staff Writer

---- — SALEM — Police received multiple reports of scams involving thousands of dollars early this week, but they say that in each instance, the intended victims avoided being ripped off.

The first scam of the week was reported Monday night by a Barstow Street man who said he’d been trying to sell a ring for $200 on Craiglist.com and had been contacted by a female who was interested in it, according to the incident log.

The female “wanted to buy the ring” and actually “increased the purchase price to $270,” saying that the extra $70 was for a person at Wal-Mart “who was to act as a carrier for the ring and several other items which this female was purchasing through Craigslist.”

Then, the man received a FedEx envelope containing a check for $1,835 and “no other correspondence,” police wrote.

Police advised the man that the exchange sounded “too suspicious” and that he shouldn’t cash the check or continue with the sale.

The funds were to be drawn from the Bank of Nova Scotia via a man in Times Square in New York City, according to the log. The intended victim had looked the New York man up via Google and determined it was likely a scam.

The man destroyed the check in the officer’s presence.

The next report of a scam in Salem came yesterday afternoon, when a woman reported that she had nearly been conned out of $1,900 while trying to rent a house on Sable Road via Craigslist.

“She never had any contact with the renter other than email,” wrote police, adding that the renter requested that the money be sent to an address in Delaware.

The woman “felt that something was not right” and reported the incident to police. The officer who took the report had actually just left the Coldwell Banker real estate office, where a manager had reported a similar scam, according to the log.

The manager said that the agency does not run its listings on Craigslist.

Police in Marblehead received word of another type of scam on Monday, when a Haley Road woman reported at 12:36 p.m. that she had received a phone call from somebody who claimed to be her grandson, who said he was “stuck in a prison in the Dominican Republic and that she should wire $1,500 to them.”

Police wrote: “She told them to call their mother and hung up on them.”