Destrehan man scammed while purchasing vehicle

Sheriff offers safe place for Internet purchases

Letgo’s TV commercials make it all sound simple to sell or buy used items on its website, but keeping the deal legitimate has proven challenging for some.

This digital flea market offers just about everything for sale from electronics to housing items and even services, which buyers report can provide great deals.

A Destrehan man learned the hard way that everything is not what it seems when he attempted to purchase a vehicle on the website.

According to the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office, the victim sent the seller $1,500 in eBay cards as payment for the vehicle and then discovered that the sale was a scam.

All buyers should be wary at any time with online purchases, but a website called #reportscam lists 465 reports of Letgo scams from buyers and sellers. The monetary losses range from hundreds to thousands of dollars lost and most of the cases are marked unresolved.

Sheriff’s Office spokesman Cpl. James Grimaldi advised when shopping, especially online, don’t trust everything you see.

“Although online shopping may have its conveniences, it often doesn’t allow someone to build a credible rapport with the seller especially when you actually never meet this seller face to face and all contact to this person is through a computer screen,” Grimaldi said.

When possible, he advised having someone inspect potential online purchases to avoid being scammed.

Consider using payments through companies such as PayPal that often insure purchases made by allowing a cancelation of payment if the purchased product is not received or is damaged, he said.

“If exchanging money or property with a stranger, use a public place with good lighting like an open business,” Grimaldi said. “This ensures that there are plenty of potential witnesses in case you need help.”

Also, the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office has an Internet Purchase Exchange parking spot at the Training/Special Services building.

This spot is positioned in a well-lit area with several cameras facing the parking stall to ensure the entire transaction is captured on video, he said.

Grimaldi added, “Most importantly, always keep in mind that sometime deals that seem too good to be true, are in fact, too good to be true.”

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