Consumer Alert: Postal Inspectors warn, be careful buying online

Consumer Alert: Whenever you buy something online from a person or company you don't know, be careful. If you're not, you could end up losing a lot of money.

John is the fraud victim in this case. He says, "It seemed legit."

John is still embarrassed because he can't believe he lost $1,300 in a Craigslist scam.

John says, "I was in search of parts for my Suzuki motorcycle and as I do a lot of Internet shopping."

John found the parts he wanted on Craigslist, 40 percent cheaper than the usual price. The seller asked to be paid with money orders.

John gave the seller two money orders. "One for $1,000 and the other for $300."

John over-nighted the money and was told the parts would be sent immediately. Days turned into weeks and then months. At first, he gave the seller the benefit of the doubt.

"I thought maybe he's not trying to scam me and just fell on hard times."

Gil Webb is a US Postal Inspector and says, "The buyer was left waiting and waiting for parts that were never going to come."

"I felt like someone broke into my house and robbed my house," says John.

Postal Inspectors say as more and more people shop online, the number of scams are growing.

Postal Inspectors say, ""The mindset of the scammer in this case is they want money and they don't care what it takes to get it. It's a very emotionless crime that they're just very greedy."

Inspectors say consumers need to be cautions buying online.

Webb says, ""It's a red flag when the seller only wants to communication with you through emails because emails can be very anonymous."

Eventually, the seller in this case, was arrested and is serving jail time for scamming John along with 14 other people.

"The fact that he is in jail is a victory, not only for me, but also for all of the other people who were scammed by him."

John, the victim in this case, also sued the seller and was awarded more than $4,000 by a judge.

Authorities say you should try to create a paper trail if possible when buying online so you have documentation of everything. Also, try to get a good phone number for the person you are buying from.

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