Student warns about apparent online scammer

February 17, 2011 8:06:49 AM PST
A local student has a warning for anyone trying to get a deal through Craigslist. She was trying to buy some educational materials but ended up learning a hard lesson. Cara Adams met the guy who was selling her the merchandise in the parking lot at Gulfgate Mall. It wasn't long after that she realized she'd been scammed.

Adams always wanted to learn Spanish.

"I recently joined the Houston Child Advocates program and I thought it would be best to learn Spanish, so I could help more people," she said.

But $600 was more than she wanted to spend on Rosetta Stone, a popular language learning software. So Adams turned to CraigsList in search of a better deal.

"I figured, you know, maybe someone had used it and they're through with it," said Adams. "Maybe they wanted to pass it on."

Adams found what she was looking for, met the seller in a shopping center parking lot, gave him $250 cash, and in return, received the packaged box set of CD's.

While they looked like the real deal, the 25-year-old got home and realized she'd been had.

"There was stuff on it," said Adams. "It wasn't Rosetta Stone. It wasn't teaching you Spanish. It was Spanish words."

What's more, she Googled the seller's phone number and to her surprise, a post popped up, warning CraigsList shoppers not to buy from him because the merchandise he was selling is bogus.

"I felt robbed," she said. "I felt cheated and I was really disappointed."

Adams contacted Craigslist and HPD. An investigator told us internet scams are so rampant, that if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. So let the buyer beware; a lesson Adams learned the hard way.

"I should have maybe brought my laptop with me and met him somewhere and said, 'Hey, look. Let's sit down, plug this in and see if it works. You really have to be cautious whenever you use it."

The selller posted another ad but it was removed by CraigsLlist. We asked CraigsList about monitoring and oversight and are awaiting a response.

Police tell us the most common type of scam they investigate is people getting ripped off while trying to buy a car on line.