CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4) – The recent deaths of a husband and wife attempting to buy a used car in Aurora is once again an unfortunate reminder that buying from people online can be dangerous.
“Identities can be stolen, cashiers checks can be forged, and identification cards can be stolen,” Antonio Hernandez with the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office said.
Hernandez tells us he’s currently looking into a number of online scams.
“There are several instances of spoofed apartment ads,” he explained. In those scams, photos copied from legitimate websites were used to lure people into putting down rental deposits.
“Ever since the advent of the LetGos, the OfferUps, Craigslist, it has always been a problem for us,” Hernandez said.
It’s unclear if the pandemic has pushed more people to look for deals from local sellers, but law enforcement officers warn people to do their homework before making a purchase.
“Once you transfer the money, that’s your decision to spend your money or give your money to these individuals and that bank is really not going to cover you for that,” he added.
As for meeting in person in a busy location and handing over money, he suggests meeting at a local police agency such as the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office parking lot where there are plenty of cameras.
“Another thing you should look for is if they keep changing the plan,” he pointed out.
In his expert opinion, Hernandez says, all online transactions come with a risk.