Let this ripoff be a lesson to you

Let this ripoff be a lesson to you

URBANA — University of Illinois Police say a recent ripoff of a student thinking he was renting an apartment online is a cautionary tale.

Lt. Tom Geis said on June 5, a student reported that he had tried to rent an apartment on Craigslist and exchanged emails with a person who claimed to be a manager for the property.

Once the student and the so-called manager had agreed on a price, the student electronically transmitted $4,375 to that person.

The purported property manager then sent the student another email saying that there was a cleaning fee that needed to be paid. It was that email that made him suspicious about the transaction.

"This is a classic move. Once you get a fish on the line, try and get more money out of them," said Geis, frustrated that the victim's suspicions hadn't kicked in before he sent the original amount of money.

After the student called the company for which the manager claimed to work, he learned that no such person worked there. He then contacted police.

Geis and a UI police spokesman offered the following suggestions to avoid being a victim:

— Always be wary of people you meet online. Anyone can mask an email address or identity to make it look like they are someone else.

— Never send money to someone you haven't met or spoken to in person. It's perfectly acceptable to ask to meet or speak on the phone before sending large amounts of money.

— You can confirm that someone is from a business or agency they claim to be with by hanging up and calling the listed number for that company.

— If you're suspicious, don't hesitate to call the police to ask for advice. A legitimate business or official would never discourage you from doing that.

— If you believe you have been the victim of a scam, contact the police immediately.

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Tags (1):online scam