ON YOUR SIDE: Lake of the Ozarks’ couple nearly scammed thousands of dollars while selling minivan

Published: Sep. 24, 2020 at 5:43 PM CDT
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SUNRISE BEACH, Mo. (KY3) - Brad and Rachel Engelbarts have three young kids.

“We have two-and-half-year-old twins, and then we have a one-year-old," said Brad Engelbarts. “So we’re wanting to make some more family memories.”

They bought an RV, and a pick up truck to haul it.

”We didn’t need three vehicles, so we decided to sell the van," Engelbarts said.

They posted pictures of their 2018 Toyota Sienna on Facebook and Craigslist. It was in good shape, and only two years old, so it didn’t take long to get potential buyers.

“I had probably about six text messages total, and two calls on the vehicle," Engelbarts said.

One of the potential buyers agreed to pay almost $25,000 for the minivan.

He met up with the Engelbarts at their home last Thursday night. He gave a cashiers check.

Everything seemed legit. They wrote up a bill of sale, and the man was on his way.

“Anger, embarrassment, and kind of shameful, really," Brad Engelbarts recalled feeling Wednesday morning when his bank called.

The bank said the cashiers check was real, but it had been altered to look like it was for $24,900.

“This is just a copy, but the original, it just looked perfect," Engelbarts recalled. “So, obviously, these are professional counterfeit artists.”

They called the sheriff’s office, but deputies said it wasn’t a criminal case. A prosecuting attorney disagreed.

Since there wasn’t any money actually given, so the minivan was marked as stolen.

The Engelbarts got lucky.

”As soon as we got the vehicle ‘stolen,’ Toyota dinged the van, and they found it at a dealership down in Paducah, Kentucky."

The person who essentially stole their minivan had sold it to a dealership. The Engelbarts will be able to drive to Paducah to get their minivan back.

“Unbelievable, like a weight has been lifted off of the shoulders," Engelbarts said.

The Better Business Bureau says if you’re selling your car, meet at a police station or sheriff’s office, and give them a heads up.

“Chances are, if it is a scammer, that person isn’t going to actually show up with legitimate law enforcement right there," said Stephanie Garland with the BBB.

“What’s funny is over the last 24 hours I feel like I came to terms that we lost 24,000 dollars, so at this point it just feels like we’re getting a free car," Rachel Engelbarts said. “We’re really thankful that we’re all safe in this scenario.”

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