Scam of the Week: How a Nixa, Mo. couple lost $2k in online sale

NIXA, Mo. -- Online seller beware. A couple in Nixa, Mo. lost $2,000 when trying to sell a piano on Craigslist.

"We are just heartbroken about it," said Ken Bristow.

The Bristows thought they sold their digital piano. Hundreds of dollars slipped through their fingers. A melody only a crook could write.

"I was a fool," said Bristow. "I had no idea. No idea."

Bristow posted this ad on Craigslist asking $600 for the piano. Allen Bobby responded, saying he would buy it.

"I would like you to have it available for me and I'll get my movers to pick it up," said Bobby.

Ken got this check for $2,050. That's more than three times his asking price. He was instructed to cash it and pay the movers with Walmart gift cards.

"I didn't think anything about it," said Bristow. "I took it to the bank and deposited it." "He said keep $50 for all the extra work I'm doing. I didn't suspect anything at all."

Ken says he bought the cards and gave Allen Bobby the numbers on the back.

"I said listen wouldn't it be easier if I just cut you a check for $1,500 and give it to the mover? He said no they need the money right now." said Bristow. "With a panic, I thought he'd be coming around the next day."

The movers were a no show. After another no show, something came in the mail. It was a letter from Bristow's bank.

"I get a message from the bank that this is a forged check," said Bristow. "We are out $2,050. We are living on our social security checks and you can imagine what $2,050 does to it."

When buying and selling online, use cash only. Make sure you meet in a safe and well lit spot. The Nixa Police Department offers a specific place for online exchanges.

For now, the Bristows decided to keep the piano.

"It's really an enjoyable thing for me and keeps me out of trouble," said Beth Bristow.

She ends on a high note. Just like music should be heard, so should cautionary stories so we can all help each other.

Bristow filed a report with the Nixa Police Department.
You can also file reports with the Attorney General's office and the Better Business Bureau if you've ever been scammed.

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