Saturday, May 2

Watch Out For Local Truck For Sale Scam

ram pickup for sale jacksonville
I was talking to someone who was admiring my new vehicle. In the conversation, she told me she had nearly been scammed out of $800 in a deal for a truck that was too good to be true. Luckily, she pulled the plug on the deal because she discussed it with others who helped her to see the truth. I started thinking that there are likely a lot of people who are social distancing and not able to ask friends for advice, making them more susceptible to scams. Let's take a look at how this truck scam works.

The vehicle is advertised online. In this particular case, it was Facebook Marketplace, but I can assume there's a version on Craigslist and any other website that allows users to sell. From what I was told, it seems the listing may have come from an eBay listing, and that makes some sense, since it gives scammers all the information on a vehicle that might have several days left on an auction, meaning the price is still way below what it will eventually get. A scammer just has to convince the target that the auction will end once an acceptable offer is made locally. But I'm sure the ad doesn't need to be associated with a current eBay auction, so I'd watch out for any vehicle being advertised for a lower-than-fair price. 

In the case of the woman I met, she called the person listing the vehicle, and that person directed her to call another person, a woman, who was supposedly in the Army and needing to sell the vehicle fast because she was forced to move out of town. And it's all supposed to happen without ever having to meet, which works well for coronavirus safety AND scammers. The victim was told she needed to send $800 in eBay gift cards as the down-payment so that someone could deliver the vehicle to her. She told me that the scammers pushed her to do it that day, even though she was working. And that's one the best ways to tell it's a scam--they want you to get caught up in the excitement and make the deal before you can think about it. 

Of course, had this woman gone ahead with the $800 payment, she would never have seen the truck. The friend of a friend on Facebook would have said it seemed like a legitimate deal to him, and there's even a chance he didn't know his own role in the scam. Probably not, though. It was probably a fake account or just a local person who takes a cut when the scams work out. 

I did see that recipients of eBay gift cards need to have a registered eBay account, a PayPal account, and a shipping address, which means that it's quite traceable, and that makes me think that the scam probably involves either really stupid criminals, or the purchase of some item on from an eBay seller for $800. From what I can tell, these scams generally have multiple levels, so I assume there are multiple levels. The Facebook guy can say he was just getting paid for leads, and the eBay person can just say she was getting paid for an item she was selling. And the woman who redirected the funds doesn't even exist beyond a burner phone. 

Obviously, I could be all wrong here. I've never run a scam myself, but I've been targeted in a few that had some similarities. The main point is that any deal whatsoever that involves you buying gift cards in order to get that deal IS a scam. People who sell real items want cash, and they will want you to show up to see the item (preferably at a police station).

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