News in Brief | AspenTimes.com

News in Brief

ASPEN ” Sellers and buyers beware. People are looking to get your money, in more ways than one. Some of those people are even advertising through the classified sec­tion of the local news papers.

Liz Johnson, classified advertising manager for Col­orado Mountain News Media, which operates the Glenwood Springs Post Independent and The Aspen Times, said she’s seen a rise in advertising ad scams in recent years, and it’s getting worse.

“It’s just amazing, the amount of scams there are,” Johnson said.

In her experience, she has seen a variety of scams placed in the classified section of the newspaper. She said that one in every three pet ads have proven to be false in the past. The classified department still gets so many that they only run local “pet for sale” ads if they can verify that there is actually a pet.

“There was an ad for a ’68 Shelby Mustang for $4,000,” Johnson said. “Anyone who knows anything about cars knows there is no way that could be true.”

But there was probably never an actual car for sale in the first place, Johnson said.

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Johnson said one popular way for scammers to work classifieds is to respond to an ad, have someone pick up the item or have it shipped to a fake address and pay the sellers with a fraudulent cashiers check or stolen credit card.

And these scams don’t just rip off the customers, the CMNM advertising department is getting scammed, too. Johnson said that in December alone, the CMNM classifieds department has seen approximately $1,000 of charge backs from credit card companies stating that the ads paid for were fraudulent. In most cases, Johnson said, the ads were placed with stolen credit card numbers.

If there’s no permanent address or office, or if there is only an e-mail address and no phone number, those are dead-give away of a scam, Johnson said. (G­lenwood S­prings P­ost I­ndependent)

EDWARDS, Colo. ” Jeremy Lepore isn’t used to the black spray paint on fences and walls that has been cropping up in his neighborhood lately.

Graffiti in Miller Ranch was reported four times in two weeks in December, the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office said.

At Berry Creek Middle School, “SUR 13,” “South side” and curse words condemning “Nortenos” were recently spray-painted on an outside wall, a large orange storage bin, a forklift and a trash can.

“Sur 13” and “Norte” were spray-painted on an out­side wall of Red Canyon High School in October.

Robert Cuevas, principal of Berry Creek Middle School, could not be reached for comment. The cost to clean the graffiti was estimated at $3,500 to $4,000, according to a sheriff’s office report.

Sheriff’s deputies are investigating the graffiti, which is bashing another gang, said Kim Andree, spokes­woman for the sheriff’s office.

“Sur 13” is a symbol for a street gang known as “Sureno” or “Sureno Trece.” “Sureno” means “south­erner” in Spanish. “Norteno,” a rival street gang, means “northerner” in Spanish.

Sheriff’s deputies have dealt with people in Eagle County who have weak ties to gang members, but not in connection to the recent graffiti, Andree said. (V­ail Da­ily)