Several Northland residents who have had garage sales recently ended up losing money instead of earning it, and police want to prevent more people from becoming victims.
Kansas City police said they recently received five different reports of scammers going to garage sales with counterfeit $100 and $20 bills.
The suspects bought a few small items and then got real cash back from the victims as change, police said. In one instance, a suspect asked a victim to break a $100 bill.
When the victims went to deposit their earnings from the garage sale, their banks informed them the bills were fake.
"All in all I could have made a decent amount, but I ended up losing out big time because I trusted too many people," said Darrell Mashburn.
Mashburn still has some stuff leftover from his garage sale this weekend, but he's not mad about that. Instead he's seeing red after he was ripped off not once, but twice, by shoppers who paid with fake money.
"It was plastic-y for one, it didn't look right, it was not the right color and not the right feel," he said.
He said on Friday two women bought some items and paid his niece with a $100 bill.
"They waited to give it to my 15-year-old niece, so of course they were waiting to take advantage of the naive teenager," Mashburn said. "When I came back over and looked at the cash, I pretty much immediately noticed it was fake."
The next day a man pulled up with another $100 bill.
"He gave it to me. I had a feeling and I was talking to him and told him I had just gotten one the day before that was fake. He played it off really well, he was pretty smart and he was a smooth talker," Mashburn said.
Officer Shelly Gaddis with the Kansas City, MO, Police Department said Mashburn's not alone.
"We've had several reports of citizens who are having garage sales and, instead of making money, it's costing them money. Scammers are taking counterfeit $100 bills and buying a few items and then they get real money back as change," she said.
Different suspect and vehicle descriptions have been reported.
"You are just taking advantage of average Joe, people who work hard for their money and they're just trying to do something good and clean out their garage a little bit," Mashburn said.
Authorities say to prevent this from happening, those holding a garage sale should not accept any bills larger than $20. The use of a counterfeit money detection pen is also advised and those running garage sales should look for any blurry images on a bill that would indicate it's a copy.
Police would like to hear from anybody who believes they have gotten fake money from this type of scam so they can investigate and pass the information on to the appropriate government agency.
Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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