Law Student Scammed on 'Offer Up' App

By William Vogeler, Esq. on September 22, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Poor -- like literally poor -- Kelly DeSalvatore...

DeSalvatore, a law student, handed her iPhone to a stranger who gave her fake money in return. Not that it was her fault, but maybe she should have looked up "offer-and-acceptance" before she used "Offer Up."

The popular online exchange, like Craigslist and others, does not guarantee bona fide deals. Scams happen all the time, even to law students.

"Like in Shock"

DeSalvatore, a student at the University of Connecticut, wanted to sell her phone so she could upgrade. She put it on Offer Up, and agreed to meet a proposed buyer in a parking lot.

"It was kind of weird that he was looking around suspiciously a little bit and then like kept looking down at his phone," she told Fox News in Hartford.

The man took a look at her iPhone, handed her a fistful of bills and then took off with her phone.

"I was like in shock," DeSalvatore said. "I didn't know what to do. I never felt counterfeit money before but I know that it didn't feel like real cash to me."

She Was Lucky

Police said DeSalvatore was lucky. Hartford Deputy Police Chief Brian Foley said his department has seen "a lot of issues, including a homicide" through online transactions like Craigslist and Offer Up.

He urged people to meet in a very public, well-lit place, with a friend for exchanges. Meeting at a local police station is the safest.

Offer Up also advises sellers not to share personal information, to communicate using its messaging system, and to avoid shipping and accepting online payments.

For buyers, it is good to know that generally advertisements are not offers to sell. Any law student could tell you that.

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