Trust starts with being honest, not a deception.

Some websites are filled with scams and otherwise dubious ways to maliciously harm people.

The buy and sell sites are notoriously rampant with these scams.

Recently, I was looking up used cars on Craigslist and discovered a massive scam going on.

Listing…

I am glad you are one of the people interested in buying my car. It is a 2005 Chevrolet Equinox.Red color/ gray cloth interior with only 61,990 mileage.Automatic transmission. The price is $2000.

The car is a non-smoker and interior is in great shape. All power components work absolutely perfect.All regular maintenance has been performed on this car.The tires are in great condition,and the brakes work well. Has never been in an accident and needs nothing at this time. This car truly should go to someone that will appreciate a car in EXCELLENT condition that look as good as it. Because of my divorce settlement, I own this car and as a woman I don’t need it so I’m trying to get rid of it as soon as possible.The title is legally under my name, clear and free of any liens or loans.

Please let me know if you are interested and where are you located.

Thank you,
Susan
Local # to text

The scammer posts a car in hopes of luring people in. They list a local number to text. If you are the one looking for a vehicle you send a message then get a reply saying to email the person’s mother at susanlopez996@gmail.com. Then you email the person and lo and behold the story posted online seems to have changed and the person now wants you to send payment before you will even get the car.

I discovered the below email has been used in multiple scams across the US.

***Here’s the email I received from susanlopez996@gmail.com ***
“I’m a flight attendant for American Airlines and because I’m away most of the time I will not be able to deal in person. Before leaving I had pre-arranged a deal with eBay so my presence is not necessary. The vehicle is in their possession ready to be delivered. eBay will handle this transaction for me. The total amount that you will pay is $2000, with shipping and transfer fees included. You will receive the vehicle in max 48 hours and you will have the chance to inspect it for 5 days. The eBay department will hold and insure your money throughout the inspection. If by any reason you find something you don’t like about the car you can send it back at my expense and eBay will send you a full refund. I’m sure it won’t be the case because the vehicle is in excellent condition. It will come with all the necessary paperwork (clear title, bill of sale, user’s manual etc). You will receive all the original documents. I signed all the paperwork and the clear title is ready to be transferred to the new owner. If you are interested in buying my vehicle please send me your full name, shipping address and phone number so I can register the transaction with eBay and they will reply you with more details and information about this transaction.

The email associated with this Susan Lopez has a long line of scams associated with it and seems to go back years on Google. Searches have pulled up scam after scam after scam.

Don’t fall for these types of scams. Do your due diligence. If it sounds to good to be true it usually is.

Recognizing scams

Most scams attempts involve one or more of the following:

  • Email or text from someone that is not local to your area.
  • Vague initial inquiry, e.g. asking about “the item.” Poor grammar/spelling.
  • Western Union, Money Gram, cashier check, money order, paypal, shipping, escrow service, or a “guarantee.”
  • Inability or refusal to meet face-to-face to complete the transaction.

How to Avoid Being Scammed

Deal locally, face-to-face —follow this one rule and avoid 99% of scam attempts.

  1. Do not extend payment to anyone you have not met in person.
  2. Beware offers involving shipping – deal with locals you can meet in person.
  3. Never wire funds (example: Western Union) -it’s a notorious method for scammers.
  4. Don’t accept cashier/certified checks or money orders from people not local to your area or issued from a bank that you can’t verify as legitimate.
  5. Never pay for your high priced item in cash.
  6. Transactions are between users only, no third party provides a “guarantee”.
  7. Never give out financial info (bank account, social security, paypal account, etc).
  8. Do not rent or purchase sight-unseen—that amazing “deal” may not exist.

And if renting an item or property or going for a job interview…refuse to do a background or credit check until you have met landlord or potential employer in person.

Reporting The Scammers

United States

Internet Fraud Complaint Center
FTC complaint form and hotline: 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357)
Consumer Sentinel/Military (for armed service members and families)

Canada

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre or 888-495-8501 (toll-free)
Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)
If you are defrauded by someone you met in person, contact your local police department. If you suspect that a craigslist post may be connected to a scam, you can report directly to Craigslist by clicking here.

Craigslist and Ebay and other discount online websites work because they are advertised as a way for people to buy stuff cheaper then they would in a store. Sadly, scammers take advantage of people’s need to save money. People clamor to these sites for the deals. Unfortunately, the deals in some cases are designed to take your money and leave you heartbroken and frustrated. Don’t be a victim. Learn to report these scams if you see them. And warn your friends.

Rob is affectionately known as “Mr Sarcasm” to his friends - to everyone else he’s a Certified Digital Marketing Strategist, a Foremost Expert On Specialized SEO, a Best Selling Author, Podcaster, Speaker and Authority Broadcaster who can help amplify YOU to your audience. Rob has authored, coauthored or produced over 30 books covering social media, search engine optimization, podcasting, copywriting, personal injury law, weight loss, military law, life lessons, scams, customer service and more. His book clients include lawyers, speakers, doctors, real estate professionals and more. Rob is also host of The E-Heroes Interview Series available on Apple, Amazon, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify & many other podcast channels. Rob works inside corporations across the globe, helping companies generate new revenue and capture online business. Rob is also available to share talks and give interviews. To learn more and to get started visit www.AnspachMedia.com or call Anspach Media at (412)267-7224 today.