NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A warning to anyone looking to buy something from someone online. News 8 is stretching your dollar with the story of a local woman who was almost scammed out of a lot of money.
We say it all the time: scammers are always a step ahead and as one woman found out, they’re now working Facebook marketplace. So, beware as you shop!
Like many moms, “Nicole” wanted to help her daughter find an inexpensive car when she turned 16. She found one she liked on Facebook marketplace, only something unusual happened with the seller.
“I was literally in the middle of a phone call with them and the phone disconnected. I called back and it rang and rang and rang. At which point, my flag started going off,” Nicole said.
The person she was buying from told her, her husband had died and she wanted to get rid of the car. She wanted her to buy it using Amazon’s purchase protection program. Only, the invoice she received required she pay in Amazon gift cards.
“Then, I went online and called the actual Amazon number on the computer and I said hi, I was just on the phone with you, I’m in the process of purchasing a car. And he said oh no, that’s a scam, don’t do that,” Nicole said.
Better Business Bureau’s Howard Schwartz says always be cautious when a seller gives you seemingly personal information like a death in the family. Especially if it’s followed by a specific payment method.
“Watch out for demands of certain types of payment. Those demands often require a wire transfer or they require sending a cashier’s check and right away you’ve got a problem there. Move on,” Schwartz said.
Just like Nicole did, verify that the company you’re working through is legitimate
Make sure you see and inspect items before purchase
If it’s a car, request the vehicle identification number and do some background research on the car.
It’s easy to get caught up in the process, Nicole’s just happy she figured it out before she lost money.
“I wonder how many people she’s scammed and had send Amazon gift cards or payments to. How many times this car has never showed up in someone’s driveway,” Nicole added.
The other thing is don’t get into anything where the process is rushed. When you’re spending a lot of money, you should always be able to have the time to make a smart consumer choice.