Scam artists are reportedly capitalizing on the rise in used car sales as many buyers are avoiding dealerships and resorting to online transactions, according to a report. Carolyn Bui, a Miami woman, found car online for her college-aged son on Facebook Marketplace for a discounted price of only $2,000, CBS Miami reported.
Bui told the outlet she was "doubtful" that a 2012 Honda Accord would go for that cheap, but the seller allegedly told her that her husband died and she was leaving for the military.
When she asked to see the car before making the payment, the seller said the car was in storage and would instead be delivered.
"I received another email from eBay that the car is shipping to my son," she said.
She received a contract that seemed to be run through eBay –– she was also asked to pay in the form of gift cards. The email was fake and the transaction was a scam. The gift cards she used to pay for the car were quickly drained of their funds.
Bui says she never received the car delivery.
The Better Business Bureau projects it will receive over 450 car delivery scam complaints this year and estimate a total of $1 million lost –– but the organization projects thousands more cases have gone unreported.
Warning signs might entail a car priced well below the market value. Also, if the seller claims they are leaving for the military or there was a death in the family. Lastly, if a seller refuses to meet in person, citing COVID and if payment is required via gift cards or wire transactions.