Scammers strike again, tricking local businesses on Facebook

Published: Apr. 6, 2021 at 5:25 PM EDT
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GOSHEN, Ind. (WNDU) - Scammers are at it again, trying to dupe local business owners on Facebook to rent booths at festivals or markets.

Last week, Jennifer Lara, owner of Little Wonders Creations, inquired on the page for Pop-Up Handicrafts if vendor spaces were still available at an upcoming event happening at the Old Bag Factory in Goshen.

“And someone had commented on it saying, ‘Yes, we have spaces available, please message me,’” she recalled.

To secure her spot, Lara says she paid the person $40 through PayPal ‘Friends and Family,’ an option that allows account-holders to send money to U.S. bank accounts without paying a fee.

“It kind of threw me off because the name on the email didn’t match up with the name of the person who’s messaging me,” Jennifer said.

Suspicious, she checked the Facebook page for Pop-Up Handicrafts again.

“I saw posts that they said they don’t accept PayPal at all. And at that point, I was just kind of like, in shock,” she said.

Amanda Gobble, the real owner of Pop-Up Handicrafts, was just as shocked.

“It’s disheartening to know that we were just trying to put on quality events for local artisans and crafters. And then there’s people out there trying to sabotage that,” she said.

Someone else was pretending to be the event organizer in the Facebook comments of the Pop-Up Handicrafts page. A stranger scammed Jennifer Lara of $40.

“It just kind of sucks that people are taking advantage of, you know, small businesses, who are just trying to make their living, not hurting anyone,” Lara lamented.

Pop-Up Handicrafts reported multiple scammers tried to sell vendor spots on their page last week. That’s why they urge business owners to click and thoroughly check Facebook notifications to see what comments people are leaving.

“I want to make sure to build awareness for making sure that we are mindful of what’s happening online all the time,” Gobble said.

Lara said she’s awaiting a response from PayPal. 16 News Now has learned similar scams are being reported as far as Alaska.

Click here for additional resources on reporting internet scams.

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