INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- An Indianapolis woman looking for a new car found herself scammed out of thousands of dollars instead.
eBay is one of the most popular e-commerce sites in the world, and criminals do take advantage of that trusted name.
One Indianapolis woman learned that lesson the hard way. While searching for a new car on the internet, she came across an ad for a 2001 Chevy Tahoe by a seller who claimed to be a military member in Missouri.
"She said she was moving to the next rank up so she had to get rid of it fast, that's why she was selling it so low," said the victim.
The buyer, who asked not to be identified, says she bought 10 eBay gifts cards to pay for the SUV before realizing she was ripped off.
"Long story short is I got scammed. I got scammed out of $2,000," said the victim. "That's a whole lot of money for me. You know how many months' rent that would be for me?"
The woman did receive several invoices confirming her payment and buyer protection. The emails seemed legit with the eBay and logo, but the domain @ebayvppinvoices.com didn't come from eBay.
"You know I feel really stupid because I should have paid more attention, but there's really cruel people in the world who are ready to steal," said the victim.
"Everyone is vulnerable to scams," said Tim Maniscalo with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
According to the BBB website, "Emails from eBay have the domain name @ebay.com."
After realizing she lost $2,000, the victim contacted eBay, who responded from the legitimate domain, but it was too late to get her money back.
"Do a little bit of homework," said Maniscalo. "You can check things out usually pretty quickly on the web and figure out is this something that’s legitimate or is this someone trying to scam me and get my money."
"I just want everyone else to not experience what I had to. So they need to pay attention. Do your research. Do your research and make sure it's legitimate," said the victim.
The following information comes from the Better Bureau website:
The first clue that an “ebay” sale is not actually an “ebay” sale is that the cost of the vehicle is surprisingly discounted. When researching any car purchase, check on one of the reputable car websites like Kelly Blue Book (kbb.com) or nada.com for the actual going rate of a specific used car.
Another clue that an “eBay” sale is not really an “eBay” sale is the email address. Emails from eBay have the domain name <ebay.com.> Criminals may have the word “ebay” somewhere in their email name, such as: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com. None of these emails have been sent from eBay. Ebay does NOT allow a buyer to contact a seller directly, all correspondence is through eBay.
You can check to see if a message you receive in your personal email is REALLY from eBay by signing in to your eBay account, and checking your eBay messages. If you do NOT see the same message “From eBay,” the message in your personal account is likely fake. To report a fake email, forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Transactions in which the seller and the vehicle are in different locations are suspect. Criminals often claim to have been transferred for work reasons, deployed by the military, or moved because of a family circumstance, and could not take the vehicle with them.
If the seller does not make the vehicle available to the buyer for inspection, don’t buy it.
If the seller insists the “sale” take place immediately, that is a red flag.