A local pastor asks you to be careful about what you buy online.
Pastor Elijah Teh Teh of New Zion Baptist Church bought a laptop on eBay in 2012. When he turned it on, a tracking device alerted him it was stolen. He was featured in the Washington
Post this past weekend; the laptop he bought on eBay was reportedly amongst a series of computers stolen from a school in Washington D.C.
Teh Teh made national headlines because instead of ignoring the situation, he contacted authorities and reported the issue.
“If you find out this item is stolen, please don’t keep it,” said Teh Teh. Make sure the person is held responsible for what they did. That will help curb the stolen goods that are on the market today.”
Teh Teh’s detective work reportedly helped Washington D.C. Police arrest the seller and shut down his business.
Once he learned the laptop was stolen, eBay informed him he could not get his $500 back if he didn’t return the laptop to the seller. So, Teh Teh said he contacted the seller, wrote down
his contact information, and then sent the laptop back to him. But, he also gave the seller’s information and the shipping tracking number to Washington D.C. Police. The laptop never returned to the seller, but Teh Teh said he got his money back from eBay because he was able to provide them with the shipping tracking number as well.
Teh Teh hopes more people will report to police when they receive stolen items by accident. He said that’s the only way the cycle will stop.
Shreveport and Caddo Property Crimes detectives said people unknowingly buying stolen items online are rarely reported in this area. But, they said it’s hard to tell if an item sold online is stolen unless it’s marked, has a tracking device or the owner reports it stolen to authorities and knows the serial number.
They encourage people to keep track of serial numbers of their belongings, take pictures of their
belongings, and put tracking software on computers, cell phones, and I-pads.
Det. Bobby Herring with the Caddo-Shreveport Financial Crimes Task Force said Craigslist is also full of scams. They discourage people from using it unless the entirety of their
transaction is face-to-face.
Recently, Herring said sellers have been targets of scams. In the latest scam, he said the seller will ship the product to the customer. The customer will then send them a bad check, overpaying for the item. Then, the customer contacts the seller, telling them they paid too much and asks the seller to send them back the difference in cash. The seller then not only loses the product but also their money.
Herring also encourages people to shop online using reputable sites, refrain from following hyperlinks, use a credit card, and refrain from using public Wi-Fi when shopping online.