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Ernest Cowles's picture
Joined: 03/12/2014
Posts: 19
Scam Alert

Hi Everyone:  I wanted to let you know about a scam attempt that occurred through our local RanchoMurieta.com website.  Yesterday, I posted an ad for some furniture here.  This morning I had a text message from a person identifying himself as "Ronald".  He said he lived in Pennsylvania and wanted to buy my furniture (sounded a little strange from the get go).  After several back and forth IMs, he said he would send me a "cashiers check" and would have a picker come get the furniture.  However he said he would send the check with an amount to cover his picker's fee that he wanted me to give that amount to the picker.  When I responded that he would have to deal directly with his picker on the payment and that the person could get the furniture after the check cleared,  he gave me a line that got stranger and stranger about how that was the only way he could do it.  When I asked how he (who supposedly lives in PA found the ad on our local website he said "Oh, on the local ad").  At this point I was fairly certain I was dealing with what's termed the "Nigerian check scam".  I have some fairly sophisticated computer tracking software, and so I was able to pull the curtain back on this individual a little and have contacted the appropriate law enforcement agency.  I don't place any blame on RanchoMurieta.com for this, but it does show that just because you're on our local website doesn't mean there aren't people there who are watching our RM site for the wrong reasons. So, please be careful . . .

Ernie Cowles

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Jacque Villa's picture
Joined: 07/11/2009
Posts: 539
Scam Alert

Yes Mr. Cowles, this is a scam ....We, the Sheriff Department, know about this type of scam. The best thing to do is just what you did, refuse to do business with them and report it to the authorities. Often they are local, not in another city as they tell you. Thank you for posting this on our local site..hopefull folks will be alert and not do business with these people.


Jacque Villa Sacramento Sheriff Department, Rancho Murieta VIPS

RM.com's picture
Joined: 06/19/2007
Posts: 27726
On the lookout for scams

Mr. Cowles,

We're pleased that you were able to steer law enforcement in the direction of the would-be scammer. Everyone should be as careful as you were.

A suggestion: We would only do a transaction with someone from inside the community, but even there you should be cautious.

Ernest Cowles's picture
Joined: 03/12/2014
Posts: 19
The Key Is Reporting

Thanks for the kudos.  Actually, I am fairly familiar with this type of crime as I hold a Ph.D. in Criminology and spent more than 30 years working in the criminal justice field, teaching and directing crime research.  One of the biggest problems in dealing with this type of crime is that scams frequently go unreported.  People who are approached by a scammer or are victimized in a scam often don't want to get involved, or don't report because they are afraid or are too embarrassed because they were taken in by a scammer.  Today's mobile technology complicates the problem.  As you said Jackie, the scammer may be local pretending to be in another state.  Or it might be someone half a world away pretending to be local. The bottom line is that being in a gated community doesn't offer protection against this type intrusion and, like all crime, unless its reported, law enforcement can do little. 


Ernest & Ellison Cowles

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