New Mexico woman out hundreds of dollars in reported virtual car sale scam

New Mexico

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (KRQE) – Shopping online for a car should be a safe option but some potential buyers are running into scammers looking to make a quick buck. One New Mexico woman says she lost nearly $1,500 trying to by a truck on eBay.

The Los Alamos resident says a 2006 Ford Ranger was listed for $1,400. She says the seller claimed to be from Montana and asked her to pay in gift cards. “Her story was that she was getting rid of the vehicle because her son had just passed away and it was a painful reminder to her,” said Sarah Valdez.

After sending the gift cards, the suspected scammer asked her to send another thousand dollars for shipping costs. When she refused, communications stopped.

“The vehicle never showed up to where it was supposed to be. I even have an address for this lady out in Montana, and it’s like, where’s the vehicle? If not, I want my money back. Now, this lady won’t answer,” said Valdez.

According to the Better Business Bureau, scams like this are happening on Craigslist, eBay, and other auction sites. The Better Business Bureau says scammers have attempted to gain more than $28,000 from people in New Mexico and southern Colorado in virtual vehicle scams.

Officials say another common scam is sellers instructing buyers to wire money to independent third parties to hold the money in escrow while the vehicle is shipped. In reality, the money is just wired to the criminals, and a car is never delivered.

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