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Saddle scam: Bend shipping store manager warns about latest scammer tactics

He should know - he fell victim to a different, email scam

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Most people know the classic signs of a scammer by now: Robo-calls regarding people’s car insurance and requests for a wire transfer or a gift card, for example. However, in some cases, scams are not so easy to recognize any more. A shipping store manager in Bend has seen that first-hand.

It's been an unusual week for Nick Pierce. The manager of Postal Connections in southeast Bend has seen two separate instances of the same exact scam, two days in a row.

“I mean, it looked real to me at first,” Pierce explained to NewsChannel 21 on Thursday. “It took a while before it started to click that, you know, this might be a scam."

On Tuesday, Pierce said, an elderly woman came in trying to ship a horse saddle. It was an item she was trying to sell on Facebook Marketplace, which gained interest from a buyer who claimed to live in Hanceville, Alabama.

That buyer said she wanted to purchase the saddle, but never confirmed the purchase through Marketplace, which is what people are supposed to do.

Regardless, the seller received a follow-up email from what appeared to be PayPal, and that's when Pierce started asking questions.

“They wanted (the seller) to send the tracking number and pay for the shipment first, and then (the buyer) said they would send the money shortly after that, which is not how PayPal works,” Pierce said.

Pierce and the customer agreed it would not be a good idea to trust that buyer. Then, just 24 hours later, it happened again, to a different customer.

“I walked over, and I’m like, 'Who are you sending this saddle to?'” Pierce said. “It was the exact same person as (Tuesday). They had the exact same identical PayPal email, asking for the exact same thing."

Again, Pierce put a stop to the shipment, saving two people from losing out on what he estimates to be a couple thousand dollars each.

Still, even Pierce himself has been fooled in the past, sending $300 in Google Play gift cards to someone who emailed the store, posing as a friend.

"They know the name of a close family friend, and they're impersonating them and their email,” Pierce said. “We didn't think anything of it. We thought they just needed a favor."

He said looking back, he should have recognized it was a scam. However, it gave him knowledge to now stop others from falling for something similar.

These examples show nobody's safe from being targeted, but everyone should know the signs. Scammers usually contact people out of the blue, and in many cases, like Pierce experienced, there's an emergency, or they need a favor.

Above all, as the old saying goes: If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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Max Goldwasser

Max Goldwasser is a reporter and producer for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Max here.

Comments

8 Comments

  1. Some will say the twisted version of a scam is what the government is running on us with this plandemic. They keep our attention diverted from what they’re really trying to do and parade fauci out to keep everyone scared.

      1. DARPA has a report out on Fauci. You may want to do some research to see if you can find that report. No, I won’t link it for you. You do not deserve that consideration.

  2. I do lots of on-line business on Marketplace and Craigslist, frequently for well over $1000 per transaction. I have a rigid rule that I talk to the other party on the phone to confirm all the details. I do it for that reason, but mostly to get a sense of the integrity of the other party. We chat about the item, how it works, condition etc. You quickly get a sense of the person; most scammers will not talk to you on the phone. I also Google the person and have found out relevant info there.

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