CHURCH HILL — Two members of a Hawkins County family were scammed out of a total of $521 Saturday as the result of an attempt to purchase two parrots online.
On Saturday a mother and daughter who live on Smith Hollow Road near Church Hill were searching a website called "Tennessee Super Ads" where they found advertisements for exotic birds.
The 48-year-old mother decided to purchase a "trained and DNA tested Green winged Macaw parrot."
The phone number in the ad was (801) 396-0045, and upon contacting the seller via text the victim was given instructions for payment and shipping.
The mother told Hawkins County Sheriff's Office Deputy Kenny Lunsford Jr. that the seller wouldn't speak to her personally over the phone.
"She finally wired money through Western Union in the amount of $200, plus a fee of $12," Lunsford said. "A few hours later this person sent her an e-mail telling her the bird had been shipped, but needed $900 more for insurance, and (the seller) would refund her $850 when the bird was delivered. (The mother) knew at this time she had been scammed."
The 25 year old daughter reported a similar experience taking place Saturday.
She told Lunsford she decided to buy a bird advertised as "beautiful male Congo African Gray parrot" which was advertised for free if the buyer paid for shipping.
After contacting the seller via text, the daughter received an email with instructions for making payment ad shipping.
She wired $300 to the seller via Western Union with a $9 fee.
"A day later this person sent her an email telling her the bird had to be insured to ship and would cost $1,250," Lunsford said. "(The daughter) knew at this time she had been scammed."
HCSO Chief Deputy Tony Allen said there isn't much his department can do about these type of online scams, and the chances of these people seeing their money again are just about nil.
"We take the report and we give the victim a pamphlet from the Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs that talks about various online scams," Allen said. "In fact this is becoming so common, we're almost out of those pamphlets. Most of these scams originate overseas, so a local investigation isn't going to do much good."
Allen said, "We take the reports, but we also advise victims to file complaints through the Tennessee Division of Consumers Affairs, but this is a whole lot bigger picture than something that takes place in Hawkins County."comments powered by Disqus