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Scammers targeting SWFL pawn shops

Posted at 10:47 PM, Mar 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-08 22:49:59-05

CAPE CORAL, Fla., - Pawn shop owners are warning of a growing scam in Southwest Florida.

The owner of Cape Jewelry and Pawn tells 4 In Your Corner scammers are coming to his store  with phones to pawn or sell. They claim it’s theirs but once they get the money, they call their provider and claim it’s been lost or stolen. Then, the insurance pays for them to get a new phone.
“It’s very costly.” said Todd Koskinas, president of Cape Jewelry and Pawn. “We do everything on the front end to counteract these things but we only have certain tools at our disposal to check the phone to make sure it’s legit.”

Koskinas says because providers won’t talk to pawn shop owners there’s no way for him to report to them that the stolen phone was actually brought to a pawn shop. 

“Now that phones are more expensive, it becomes more prevalent,” Koskinas said.

And it’s not just phones. Koskinas says they’ve seen the scam with iPads and laptops too. 

By scammers reporting the items stolen, they cause them to become unusable and unsellable. 

Koskinas says they’ve lost thousands of dollars over the years to the scam. That’s why they constantly communicate with law enforcement when they suspect fraud.

“Any person that  misleads a pawn broker or brings stolen items into a pawn shop, the charges are 3 felony charges including defrauding a pawn owner.”