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Buyer Beware: Internet scams are on the rise

Scam artists are hiding in plain sight these days. We have all heard about the telephone calls where an intended victim receives a phone call claiming their social security number has been involved in fraud. Perhaps, the caller suggests the victim has won the lottery.
The latest scam we have been made aware of will have folks rethinking making purchases online.
Lowcountry photographer Cathryn Miller purchased a new camera lens from an eBay seller for $809.99 on January 13th. Miller requested the shipping information and received it on January 18th. The tracking number belonged to UPS. Miller tracked her package on January 19th, only to discover the package had been delivered on January 15th at 2:13 pm – a time that she was home and had received other packages. She reached out to the seller to let her know she had not received the package. It was then that Miller was told by the seller had received confirmation that the lens had been delivered.
Miller decided to reach out to UPS, the shipping company, on January 20th, where she found out the package had been delivered to a different address on her street. They also stated the package associated with the tracking number was not addressed to Miller or her address but instead to an address on her street. They also told her it only weighed 20 ounces. Miller knew the lens she ordered weighed 4.94 pounds. They also informed Miller the package was shipped from an Amazon warehouse and not through eBay, where she ordered from. Miller then opened a dispute on eBay and was told she could not escalate it until five days later.
According to Miller, she continued to call and send emails to UPS and Amazon trying to get to the bottom of her missing order. She also reached out to the eBay seller, who finally admitted she “warehouses” on Amazon after she found out Miller had determined the tracking number belonged to Amazon.
After hours of calling and sending emails to locate the camera lens, it was determined the eBay seller worked at Amazon. Miller went door to door until she finally located the package that had been associated with her camera lens only to find out it was a small bottle of paint sent to a neighbor. Amazon finally opened an investigation after they realized a tracking number generated from their warehouse was being used for fraud through eBay. Miller was finally able to have a police report written up to provide to Amazon, eBay, and the seller, at which point the seller told eBay to refund her money. Miller will never know the outcome of the case as it is now being handled internally through Amazon.
As of our print deadline, Miller has been refunded her money in full. However, she is still going after the seller. The seller still has items listed for sale on eBay and the company has done nothing to prevent the seller from using the same scam on other potential unsuspected buyers. Miller had written a review of the seller warning buyers of her attempts to steal from buyers but unfortunately, eBay has removed it. Miller wants her story to be told so that others might not be taken in the same way she had been. Thankfully, Miller did not give up and saw the case through where others might not know how to do so, leaving them out their money and with no product.
According to local authorities, scams like this are happening to Colleton County residents every day, and the numbers continue to increase. If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. If you suspect you might be a victim of a scam, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask from help from someone you trust.

Christie Slocum (589 Posts)