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Toledo man becomes a victim of social media fraud, scammed out of hundreds of dollars

Jack Velandra needs a motorized scooter due to health issues. He placed an order online, but he never got the scooter. Instead, he got junk and lost money to a scam.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Scams on social media are very much alive and making the rounds. 

A south Toledo man with health issues was trying to buy a motorized scooter, which is an item he needs on a daily basis. The scooter never came.

Now he's left without a way to get around and has no way of getting his money back.

"Tried to order a scooter and I sent the order in, and I ended up getting a small remote and I never got the scooter," Jack Velandra said.

Velandra says he suffers from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and needs that scooter to get around.

But instead, he's lost more than $300 and is a victim of a Facebook scam.

"I was really upset because I got scammed before on a couple of other items that I ordered that wasn't what I ordered," Velandra said.

And he's not alone.

The Federal Trade Commission says consumers lost some $770 million to fraud on social media just last year.

RELATED: FTC: Social media ‘gold mine’ for scams costing American nearly $770 million

"What we're seeing - and the Federal Trade Commission just put out a big warning on this - is a huge increase in scams on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest and so on," said Richard Eppstein of the Better Business Bureau of Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan.

But he says there are things you can do.

"Number one, you've gotta find out who you're dealing with. Go to Google, check with Better Business Bureau," Eppstein said, "see if we know who they are."

Eppstein says first and foremost if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. 

Try to pay with a credit card, because there are federal protections to protect against fraud and watch out for sellers who want gift cards, cash or your personal information.

"Problem is if you are giving a debit card number to somebody, that gives them access into your bank," Eppstein said.

Jack Velandra says it's too late for him, but he wants to share his story to help others from becoming a victim.

"They gotta stop. They got to find out who's putting these out there and get our money back," Velandra said.

If you fall victim to a scam, you can contact the Better Business Bureau, which also has BBB scam tracker. You can also file a report with the FBI at the Internet Crime complaint center.


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