A Smithfield man is one of the latest victims of an online car sales scam. It happened last week. After losing $2,400, the victim contacted Smithfield Police who are now investigating.
The 66 year-old victim said he was looking to buy a used car and began searching on eBay. He found a 2008 Honda Accord for a bargain price of $1,400. They claimed the price was low because they wanted to sell the car as fast as possible. After corresponding with the seller, an agreement was made to pay $1,000 more to have it shipped to Smithfield.
The victim said he was told to pay for the car and shipping costs with eBay gift cards. After buying the cards and providing the seller with the card numbers he never heard back from them again.
Authorities said this is a scam that has been around for several years. According to eBay, criminals make the vehicle very appealing and tempt you with the price. They often push for a speedy transaction and request payment outside of eBay or a method they can get the money quickly. Criminals use numerous excuses why you can’t see the vehicle in person including the seller is in the military, is going through a divorce or getting married, there is a health issue or death in the family, have received the car through an inheritance or they are working out of town for an extended period.
eBay encourages buyers to pay for the vehicle in person at the time you pick it up. Legitimate sellers are motivated and will make every effort to meet with all potential buyers immediately, eBay says.