Scammer used counterfeit bills for Chesterfield Craiglist purchase

Posted at 7:41 PM, Mar 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-08 19:41:03-05

CHESTERFIELD, Va. -- Police in Chesterfield are searching for the scammers using fake money.

In the past two days, two separate victims were scammed by suspects pushing counterfeit bills.

A Chester woman who wants to be identified as Margaret said it was a recent Craigslist sale that set her back $550. She listed two hover boards for sale on the website, and she let the buyer come to her home to pick them up.

Then, about 10 minutes later she realized that the money was counterfeit.

“She never put the money in my hands,” Margaret said. “She counted it from one of her hands into the other and then she put it inside of the envelope and handed it to me.”

She told CBS 6 the bills were so elaborate, at first glance police even thought they were real.

The only thing different about the money was that the bills felt a little heavier than usual.

Chesterfield Police say Margaret's story is a sobering reminder that whenever you're dealing with a stranger from an online transaction, you should always meet in a well-lit, well populated place.

Police don’t want people to allow unknown buyers to your home.

Captain Donald Huff with the Chesterfield Sheriff's Office says their safe exchange zones are ideal.

They're equipped with more than a half-dozen cameras that can capture any exchange. He says they're also planning an upgrade.

Safe Zone parking

"We are looking at enhancing the cameras and putting in a duress button. If something happens, the person could hit the button and it would notify us within seconds," Huff explained.

Margaret wishes she had thought to meet in the safe exchange zone next to the Chesterfield courthouse.

The cameras could have likely captured images of a late-model white car the suspect was riding in, along with another male.

Now Margaret has a message for others.

"Just be aware. There are scammers out there. Don't let them come to your home. If you sell something on Craigslist, take a check or money order just to be safe," Margaret said.

The two incidents happened about 15 miles apart.

Chesterfield Police are still investigating to see if the cases may be related.

If you have information that can help police, call Crime Solvers at 748-0660.