Watch Your Back: Online Scams Hit Leesville - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Watch Your Back: Online Scams Hit Leesville

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LEESVILLE, La. - Here's something to watch out for so you don't get stung. Police are warning about a new scam that's hitting Cenla.

They say it happens when unsuspecting victims try to sell something online through PayPal. They get a confirmation receipt back, but PayPal says, that's not us sending you that.

News Channel 5's Kathleen Witte spoke with somebody who had this happen to them.

It started when this woman wanted to sell an old phone online and get some quick cash--and it ended with the police involved, and the woman thankful for a local shipping company, who tipped her off to the scam.

Amanda Pickering just wanted to sell her phone on Craigslist.

Police say she didn't know she was becoming the victim of an international scam.

Amanda Pickering: "He said all I had to go was go ship it, send them my confirmation number to PayPal and my money would go through."

But she says the confirmation email she received from PayPal was fake, not actually from PayPal. And no money ever went through.

Pickering: "I said, this better not be a scam, and he said, why would I scam you, and I said, why would anyone scam anyone?"

Luckily, Todd Wheless of Leesville Shipping Services had an idea what was going on, and he wouldn't let Pickering ship the package to the address in Nigeria.

Todd Wheless: "It's gotten so big and so many people are starting to send this, that it's time to let people know there's a big scam going on right now."

Another young female victim had alerted Wheless to the scam the day before. So he was already on the alert.

Wheless: "But it's just like anything else, kind of makes you angry because it looks so real."

The police are on the case, too. Detectives say those new to online selling are easy targets, especially young people and the elderly.

Chief Detective Marvin Hilton: "They may not be up to date on all the new things that are going on and that type of thing. These people will target them because they're easy prey."

Detective Hilton says these foreign culprits feel safe because of the distance.

Detective Hilton: "We don't have the capabilities of tracking that back to that individual, and even if we did, we don't have the authority in that particular area."

It's a lesson that Pickering learned, and she's thankful she learned it before she lost money, and maybe even been victim to something worse, like identity fraud.

Pickering: "Don't believe things that are too good to be true, because more than likely, it is too good to be true."

Police say the best way to make sure you're selling something online to someone who is legitimate, is to call the payment service, like PayPal, or even ask the police if they've had any reports.

If you've been a victim of this or another scam, get in touch with police, so they can warn others and keep this from happening to someone else.

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