According to the North Alabama Better Business Bureau, online payment scams keep evolving.
First, it was the wire transfer request. Then scammers graduated to preloaded debit cards. Now, they're pulling an eBay gift card scam that starts with a Craigslist car sale.
Devon McKnight drives his grandpa's truck, but said he wants one of his own. So Devon and his mom Mary Dawn of Wynne, Arkansas shopped vehicles on Craigslist. They found a bargain beauty.
"It's a nice looking truck," Devon said.
A 2008 Nissan Titan, 70,000 miles, "mint condition," and only $3500.
"One of them deals that's too good to be true," Devon said.
Too good to be true indeed, because when Devon's mom contacted the email address behind the Craigslist ad, she got a reply.
The seller said he was "stationed in a military base in Tucson, Arizona." He said he had the truck stored there, but cold ship it to them on one condition:
The scammer said he'd need all the $3,500 “up front,” and "through eBay." He included an invoice that demanded they make their payment in eBay gift cards.
"That was a red flag," Mary Dawn McKnight said. "It was a scam."
A scam the Better Business Bureau has pinned on the map of its’ Scam Tracker: Craigslist sales scammers laundering their victims' money through eBay gift cards.
WAFF 48's Leah Jordan spoke to the Vice President of North Alabama's BBB. She asked, "if you see something like this...should you be suspicious? Is it a red flag?"
Belinda McCormick said yes.
"It's just another form of stealing your money, just instantly, digitally, and you have no recourse," she said. “And eBay can't help you, because you gave whoever it is the permission to take that money."
But why eBay gift cards?
"As soon as you give the seller the numbers off that card, they can instantly take your money and the money is gone," McCormick said.
Mary Dawn McKnight got really mad.
"It's sickening," she said.
So she called the scam artist out online. In seconds, he shut down his email address and deleted his posting. That bargain beauty turned out to be exactly what Devon McKnight said it was.
"It was just too good to be true," Mary Dawn said.
Better to be happy with Grandpa's ride than ridden hard by a Craigslist scam demanding eBay gift cards.
The North Alabama BBB urges people to remember if it's a whacky payment request, you can be sure it's a scam.
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