ON YOUR SIDE: Foreign scammers targeting online car, other vehicle sales

Published: Sep. 25, 2020 at 3:46 PM CDT
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LAKE OZARK, Mo. (KY3) - John Garrett is a retired police officer.

“I worked for the St. Louis City Department Ranger Division," Garrett said during an interview with KY3/KSPR’s Andrew Havranek.

Garrett didn’t take reports of people getting scammed, but he had many colleagues who did.

Earlier this year, he was looking for a pop-up camper online.

“I went on eBay and I seen one on there, a camper, it had lights around it, it had a lady sitting in a chair near the door. I was considering it, for $1,200," Garrett explained.

The person selling that camper got back to him a few days later. He gave the woman his information, and said eBay Motors would be calling him to work out details on getting the camper.

“You have to get me some eBay cards, $200 a card. It’s only $1,200, and when you get it, call me back, and give me the numbers off the back," Garrett said, recalling what the man told him.

Garrett did as he was told, and called back with those numbers. Then, the person claiming to be with eBay Motors said he needed to get more eBay cards and send $800 for shipping.

He’d get the camper in two days.

“Well, in two days came? Nothing," Garrett said. “I tried to call him, they hung up. I called him again, no answer. I said, I got scammed.”

He lost out on $2,000.

He’s not alone. It’s happening all over the world.

”Law enforcement, both here and in Europe, and have tracked down that this kind of scam is operated by Romanian organized crime groups," said Stephanie Garland of the Better Business Bureau.

The Better Business Bureau says these scams often happen out of the US, and gift cards are used because it’s an easy way to move money.

“Just be super cautious, realize that scammers are wanting victims to think it’s safe to send money, but the websites are fake, the escrow company doesn’t actually exist, and the car never actually arrives," Garland said.

Garret did find a legit popup camper, but he said he’s not fond of shopping online anymore."

“Scams are never going to leave," Garrett said. "It’s always going to be there no matter how long it is or where it is.”

Copyright 2020 KY3. All rights reserved.

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