(WSPA) – A mother upstate has a message for anyone looking to buy a car online: beware of scams.
Imposters claiming to be with the popular eBay Motors site have tricked her out of her stimulus control, and now she wants to make sure you don’t fall victim to it.
“I was very excited. We’ve never had a nice car, ”Kimberley Land said.
Mother-of-two Pendleton says she’s quite used to being left stranded by roadside clunkers.
“It’s just, you know, when you don’t think that something couldn’t happen to you, it will happen,” Land said.
But when she found a 2007 Nissan Altima for sale on eBay for the exact same amount as her stimulus check, she thought she had finally taken a break.
“I was so excited about the car, I always thought it was real. I even asked my sister. I asked my brother-in-law. I asked several people and showed them the emails and they thought it was just as real, ”Land said.
In email exchanges, the seller sent photos and explained that the car was in “good condition” with a “title clean” and even gave a reason for the low price. Seller wrote “I’m selling it for this final price of $ 1,200 because my husband passed away 2 months ago (he had a heart attack).”
“I was like it was too good to be true. So I continued with the process, ”Land said.
Looking back, she admits that she didn’t curb the scam because she was blinded by a hope that bordered on despair.
Car dealers like Tyler Gibson of Gibson Auto & RV Sales in Greenville have said that with the recent shortage of used cars, more buyers are desperate and car sales scams are on the rise.
“There are so many scams, even just locally,” Gibson said.
He says the biggest red flag is the price.
“If it’s too good to be true about a prize, no one is donating vehicles right now. Vehicles are outrageous right now. So if it’s too good to be true about a price, you absolutely need to be careful with that, ”Gibson said.
Gibson says other telltale signs of a car sales scam include:
- free delivery offers
- excuses for not calling or meeting in person
- and using gift cards as a means of payment.
Unfortunately, Land didn’t know of any of these warning signs.
“And when she said eBay card, I said, cool, it’s easy because I don’t have a bank account or a debit card or anything,” Land told 7News.
So, as noted, Land gave the gift card numbers to whom she said was an eBay Motors representative. And, as so often happens, she was the victim of another scam: an email claiming to be from eBay saying she had to pay $ 800 for insurance to get the car.
This time Land didn’t have it.
“So after that I said I needed my money back and they wouldn’t answer anymore, he blocked my number,” Land said.
To prevent scammers from giving you a number, always ask for the vehicle identification number or VIN. You can then enter this into an online national database like NICB.org to verify that it is the correct make and model and that it is not stolen.
You can also drag and drop the photos of the car into Google images to see if they appear elsewhere online.
Land couldn’t help but think, if only she had known.
“It was awful because it was my daughter and I’s stimulus, that’s all I had. It was the full $ 1,200. I was devastated, I didn’t know what to do, ”Land said.
In a statement, eBay told 7News that it “helps buyers validate that the car exists” as listed “” and even offers a “money back guarantee and vehicle protection program,” but it does only applies to transactions made “on the eBay platform”.
Land’s hope for a new car is dashed.
“My niece, she said, well, Kim, why don’t you just contact News Channel 7, 7 On Your Side, and tell the story and that will inform everyone else.”
But her new wish is to help others avoid the pain of getting trapped in money you can’t afford to lose.
If you see what looks like a fake eBay listing, you can report it to the company. The FBI Internet Crime Complaints Center is also available for transactions on any platform.