An auto sales scam using internet auctions has taken about 20 victims across the country for more than $80,000.
The listings on Craigslist and e-bay offered a newer model for sale from $3,000 to almost $5,000. The seller’s story seemed plausible.
They were being transferred to Omaha and the new job provided a car so they had one to sell at a bargain price.
Victims wired money to various locations which should have been a red flag. The real clue they had been scammed came when Nebraska State Patrol investigators checked out the Omaha address used in the postings.
Patrol Lt. Scott Kracl said, “We found a trend where we saw one particular address in Omaha and the address was non existent."
If victims had looked up the address on the Douglas County Assessor’s website before wiring money they also would have discovered a phony address.
Lt. Kracl said, “The more posting sent out by scammers broadens the pool of potential victims. If just a few send money you’re still money ahead.”
The Patrol had been contacted by up to 20 victims, all from other states. They lost a total of $82,500.
Since suspects are likely based elsewhere, perhaps out of the country, chances for recovering the money are slim.
Paul Britt had recently been targeted by a similar scam. He was selling a dale earnhart tire. Paul said, “It had been on the track at Daytona and dale tested in January 2000.”
Britt hoped to sell it for more than $200 but a potential buyer sent him a check for 20 times that. Britt then received an e-mail to deposit the check and wire the difference about $4,000.
The check turned out to be bogus.
Britt said, “If anyone wants you to cash a check go right with them to the bank. Make sure its good instead of putting it in your account and you’re liable for it.”
These scams can best be prevented when potential victims see red flags before wiring money.