Last minute shoppers should watch for scams

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HOUSE SPRINGS, MO (KTVI) - Frantic holiday shopping can throw off even the most savvy consumer; and scammers know it.   With just a week left before Christmas people are still picking up last minute gifts.  A House Springs woman says she paid good money for a piece of junk.   Now, she wants to warn others.

Bobbie Kassman owns the Eclectic Trading Company.   A couple of weeks ago, she was working in the shop when a man entered offering a special to small business owners.   He was selling electronics according to Kassman.  "Laptops, tablets, security systems, TVs, phones and a lot of different electronic equipment."

Kassman liked the tablet and case he showed her so she bought it.  She wrote a check for $378.00.  She bought it to give as a gift.  Kassman says he then goes to his truck and brings her a different tablet.  She says she regrets not opening it before he left.   "The cover on it looked like it was new, but the tablet itself is used.  I tried charging it.  It won`t hold a charge.  It has emails already on it like it was previously owned.  The screen is scratched up and it just doesn't work at all"

Bobbie called her Credit Union to stop payment on the check but she was too late.   She says the guy moved quickly.   "I`d say within ten minutes of leaving my shop he went ahead and cashed it already."

The only paper she received is this little note asking that the consumer not call the home office with questions.   The note references Big 5 Electronics. Bobbie talked with someone at that California based company.  She was told the man does not work for them.  Police told her something else that`s interesting.  "He did show an ID when he cashed my check and when the police checked out his name, no name came up for anybody with that driver`s license."

Bobbi says after a check of the serial numbers, police determined the electronics were not stolen, just used. But, no crime had been committed since Bobbie willingly paid him.  "I guess I should have known better being a business owner and everything but as I said, I thought it would be a nice present, for someone.  I would suggest you don`t buy anything from an individual at all."

While you're wrapping up your holiday shopping use caution.  Don't rush to buy from someone selling from a vehicle.   Electronics should be purchased from reputable retailers.

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