Summer is car buying season, and every year a new group of car buyers start scouring eBay and Craigslist looking for deals on a used set of wheels
But as one Milford, Ohio, woman just learned, many of those deals are too good to be true.
Surprised at Deals on Craigslist
Heather Riser is a new mom with an old car.
So she was looking on Craigslist for used cars, and was pleasantly surprised at what she found.
"I started finding these deals that were amazing deals," Riser said, "like 2008 cars and newer cars, for a good price, maybe $5,000."
Among them: A 2008 Lexus for just $4,700, half the Kelly Blue Book value.
"I messaged two of those deals," she said, "and they both said they were in the service, leaving for Afghanistan, which I thought was maybe true, maybe not, I don't know."
The servicemen, in both cases, asked Riser to wire a deposit to to the city where they were stationed.
"One was in San Francisco, the other was Nevada or something like that."
The Real Story Behind the Ad
Riser almost sent a deposit of several hundred dollars, but something inside her told her to wait.
Good thing: She researched and learned that the FBI has been warning about Craigslist used car scams for several years now.
Typically, a scammer re-posts a legitimate auto ad, but lowers the price to make it much more appealing.
He then makes money taking deposits from people, for a car he doesn't own. The car really exists, but it's not his car.
Riser says next time, she's staying local.
"I'd rather just go to a private party locally, or even a car dealership and pay a little bit more, just to feel a little more secure."
Millions of Dollars Lost
Think this couldn't happen to you? The FBI says Americans have lost millions of dollars to these used car scams.
When money is tight, a car for half price is too hard to resist.
So be careful so you don't waste your money.
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