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Waianae man believes scammer tried using counterfeit money to buy dirt bike on Facebook Marketplace

By Arielle Argel

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    WAIANAE, Hawaii (KITV) — Darwin Mariano was selling his electric dirt bike on Facebook Marketplace. When he found a buyer, they met up outside of Mariano’s house.

“I grabbed the bike so that way he could see it and he was asking if it could fit in his vehicle. And I told him, ‘It more than likely will. Do you have the money before we put it in?’ He said ‘Yes.’ He showed me the envelope,” said Mariano.

Mariano was ready to hand over the bike to the young man. When Mariano asked if he could check the bills he had with a money marker, Mariano said it spooked the young man, who then ran away. Mariano said he believed the man was about to use counterfeit bills.

Mariano’s security camera captured everything up to before the man took off.

“A lot of people like to do the cashless transactions where you use phones, Cash apps, Zelle, Venmo, and I’m more comfortable with physical cash. But because of this experience it has me thinking otherwise,” said Mariano.

Mariano said during the sale nothing seemed suspicious at first, but one red flag he said he should have seen was the man did not have a profile picture or want a bill of sale.

So far, Mariano said he reported the account to Facebook and he plans on reporting the incident to the Honolulu Police Department (HPD) soon.

“One thing to consider is actually maybe even meeting at the bank. Having this transaction done at the bank and actually walking in with that person to the teller. Maybe just off to the side just kind of witnessing first hand, if it’s going to be a cash transaction. But just know that you’re always taking a chance when you’re doing these kinds of transactions outside of a store,” said Sgt. Chris Kim with the HPD CrimeStoppers.

Kim said if you do find counterfeit money, to call 911 immediately. He said in general when selling or buying items online, always try to do it in a very public place or bring a buddy, just to be safe.

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