by: Stephanie Coueignoux Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - An eBay scam has Charlotte detectives on high alert. Channel 9 learned about dozens of cases where scammers in Charlotte are pretending to pay and duping people into shipping items.
It's a scam dozens of people have fallen for in just the last few months. Channel 9 found cases involving victims living in Maryland, New Jersey, Florida, even California.
Detective Chris McNeil, who works with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Cyber Crimes Unit, said, “It's dependent what consumer goods at the moment are hot. A lot of it coincides with the release of a new product."
McNeil said electronics are always popular with scammers and trendy shoes are a hot ticket item.
“The shoes have been quite prevalent in the last several months. We've seen a little uptick in the shoe trading and shoe sales for some reason,” McNeil said.
Channel 9 spoke with a woman in Maryland whose 16-year-old son thought he was selling a pair of Jordan Infrared 6's to a real buyer in Charlotte.
“This person falsified an account and more than likely they falsified their identity," said Tawanda Beckett.
Beckett said that her son shipped to the package to a Charlotte address, somebody picked it up and even signed for it. What they didn’t do is pay the $182 price tag.
Detectives said not only do scammers use actual addresses, they also switch from using an eBay account to a private account to further hide their identites.
Detectives said these are hard cases to crack.
“We have to send a court order to PayPal. Then once we get that information, well, he or she has a Gmail account, then we have to send one to Google. It's not uncommon to do three or four court orders,” McNeil said.
They said it could take weeks or even months before they find out who's behind these scams.
For Beckett, her son was hoping to raise money for a college summer program.
“I would like that person to know that he has good things going on in his life and just because this happened, this is only a hiccup for right now. But he will receive the money to go to this program this summer,” she said. “They should know that they took something away from my child.”
Detectives said in some cases, the roles are reversed: the scammer buys an item on eBay, gets it in the mail and then uses a fake PayPal account to “pay.”