Buyer Beware Buying Car On Craigslist

An Omaha woman lost thousands of dollars for a car bought online. The deal appeared to have all the safeguards, but Fact Finders found red flags.

“Good to see you. Sorry about this.” Better Business Bureau president Jim Hegarty took a complaint in person from a woman scammed by a phony Craigslist car sale. “Ad for a great deal.”

The seller claimed it was a 2007 Jeep with 17,000 miles, so she wired $2,200. The Blue Book lists the value at about $20,000.

“You really have to do an investigation,” said the woman, who didn’t want to be identified. She trusted the seller’s emails. “They said they were in the military.”

One red flag was the seller claimed to have transferred from a Royal Air Force base in Alaska. “There's no doubt you have been taken by what would clearly be and off-shore scam,” said Hegarty.

Scammers convinced the victim to wire money by using forged logos for an escrow account. “I used my income tax (refund) and borrowed a few dollars,” said the victim. “I'm just a single, one income parent.”

The single mom still needed transportation. After being scammed out of $2,200 by trying to buy a good deal vehicle on lien from another state, she bought a vehicle for $2,800 more, money she had to borrow, one car for the price of two.

“When you're scammed like this you can feel embarrassed or ashamed, but you need to understand this can happen to anyone,” said Hegarty.

Fact Finders found nearly 60 other online offers claiming a military family needs to sell a car. The wording is almost exactly the same, but the vehicles are different and so are the prices.

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