Waco, Tx — Waco police say a few "friendly transactions" over Craigslist are leaving some residents short changed. Authorities say they've had a rise in scammers using Craigslist to exchange counterfeit bills for high-end goods.
"On Craigslist, you can buy anything from a car to a laptop computer, to video games, to pets," said Waco Police Spokesman Patrick Swanton.
They say 'one man's trash is another man's treasure'. And for years, Craigslist has been the outlet for many people to sell unwanted items to a wide range of people shopping for various goods. Recently, however, Waco PD has reported a rise in sellers getting ripped off.
"They'll go and exchange the item for cash, and then they get to looking and realize the cash they have is actually counterfeit bills. So, in essence, they've been duped," said Swanton.
Swanton says five cases have been reported in the past couple months where the buyer exchanges fake bills and takes off with expensive items, mostly high end electronics such as iPads, computers, and gaming systems. So far, the suspects have been described as black males and black females.
"Some of the counterfeiters are doing what they call 'bleaching' the bills and then will print over them. So, if you use a counterfeit pen, it'll still show the bill is a good bill," said Swanton.
So how can sellers protect themselves and still sell their goods?
"Use your common sense. Meet in a public area where there are people around. Check the money that you're getting for the merchandise you're selling. And, also jot down license plate numbers of people you may be involved with," said Swanton.
Waco PD says if you know anything about the counterfeiters or have personally been a victim of the crime, contact them immediately. Or, you can contact Crimestoppers confidentially and be eligible for an award. Individuals can also check the following site to learn how to spot counterfeit money: http://www.secretservice.gov/money_detect.shtml