INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Public Schools staffers tried to do a good deed, and they may have been scammed.
“It just really hurt all of us. It hurt our heart that we tried to do something good for someone in our school community and got taken advantage of,” said Chelsea English, a social worker at Shortridge High School.
Last week, a family at Shortridge High School unexpectedly lost a husband and father. The mother now left to care for six children.
“We asked what they needed, and one of the main things they needed is a washer and dryer,” said Buffy Hoyt, one of the assistant principals at the school.
The school community quickly rallied behind them and raised enough money to purchase the appliances.
“I went on Facebook Marketplace to vet the sellers as much as I could, explained the situation, thanked him for his willingness to help us,” Hoyt said. “He delivered the products, and then low and behold, they did not work. He’s blocked me from everything on social media.”
Hoyt plans to file a police report but says the damage is done.
“It’s a loss on top of a loss.”
Cybersecurity experts recommend always testing an appliance or electronic before you buy. Scams like this are becoming all too common.
“Generally it comes from profiles that don’t look complete or maybe they’re missing a profile pictures,” said Scott Shackelford, the chairman of the Indiana University Cybersecurity Risk Management Program. “Looking out for if there’s not a history of this person selling before or it looks like a popup.”
Shackelford recommends saving all conversations and making sure the product is actually what you think it is.
“You can do an image search to see if that image is fake; that can help a little bit,” Shackelford said.
Staff at Shortridge High School is once again raising money for the family in need. If you would like to donate, click here.
“Hopefully we can do something nice for this family and restore their faith in humanity,” English said.
To report a scammer, go to the Federal Trade Commission website or click here. You can also report it to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.