CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) - Police are investigating a Facebook Marketplace scam that conned a Charlotte man looking to buy a video game system.
A Charlotte man is out $75 after he attempted to buy a Nintendo Switch on Facebook Marketplace. Instead, he wound up getting played, when the seller demanded half the payment before meeting and never delivered.
"These scammers are very good at knowing the game," said Tom Bartholomy with the Better Business Bureau, "because they're playing it."
The victim didn't want to be identified but shared his Facebook messages with FOX 46. In them, the shady seller says he's been robbed three times "at gun point all over video games" and wanted to be "cautious."
"I said half now half later," the seller wrote. "I've been selling since 2015 not one bad review. I buy and sell electronics. I've been robbed so I'm cautious sorry."
"I'm not coming without some type of payment," the seller wrote. "Period. If that's a issue I'm sorry I hope you find one."
Bartholomy says that approach is intended to "put the victim at ease."
The victim paid $75, records show. The seller said he would only accept payment through Cash App, a money transfer app that keeps users anonymous. The plan was to meet at at QT gas station on Providence Road. The victim thought they woudl meet at a video-monitored public "exchange zone."
After getting the money, the seller never showed.
"I just arrived," the victim texted.
"Ok cool" the seller responded.
The next message said: "A contact left the group" - the seller had left the chat and deactivated his Facebook account.
The victim filed a police report. It's unclear how many other people may have fallen victim.
Bartholomy says consumers need to take "basic precautions" like:
- Never pay for anything up front
- Meet in public places, like a police station
- Don't travel alone
"If anything goes off-script from how that payment should be which is cash only, face-to-face," said Bartholomy, "stay away."