Zebulon woman issues warning after Facebook Marketplace jewelry ripoff

Johnston County News

Some people reached out to CBS 17 with complaints that a woman on Facebook marketplace sold them costume jewelry that was being as advertised as expensive estate jewelry.

$170.

That’s how much money Stephanie Maahs tells me her neighbor lost buying, what she thought was an expensive piece of jewelry. 

And by all accounts, it does look like an aquamarine ring with diamonds.

The only problem is it’s bogus.

Her friend found that out when she had it appraised.

“He said roughly $20, if that, and it was costume jewelry and he wouldn’t give her anything for it,” said Maahs.

Maahs says her friend bought the ring from a woman claiming to be selling fine estate jewelry on Facebook marketplace.

“I told her she should try to ask the person to do the right thing to give her her money back and she would return the fraudulent jewelry,” Maahs said.

The seller agreed and Maahs went with her friend to the seller’s Clayton apartment.

No one was home.

CBS 17 was told by neighbors the woman living there had been recently evicted.

“Just to be first off scammed and then what really burned me up was that the person then was so heartless that they told her that they would refund it and had her drive all the way back out to Clayton,” Maahs said. “This is an elderly woman who lives by herself.”

Clayton police say this isn’t the first time a fraud case has been linked to the seller, Celene Toler.

The Clayton police report filed against Toler lists the charge as obtaining money by false pretense.

CBS 17 did some digging and found out Toler also had civil suits filed against her. It is a buyer beware situation because making a deal online, no surprise, can be risky.

“To help Clayton PD and to stop other people from getting ripped off like my friend I took screen shots of the profiles that I had found,” said Maahs. “The response I got was wild. I had at least five people message me and say they had also been victims.”

Clayton Police say before you buy make sure you check out seller reviews, ask about return policies, and ask for certification on the items you want to buy.

Police say Toler could be charged with obtaining money by false pretense or this incident could turn into a civil issue too that all depends on what their investigation turns up.

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