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Letgo.com and Ebay Motors crooks scam Tucson man out of $800

Fake Letgo.com ad tricked victim
Online dating safety measures
Posted at 10:00 AM, Jan 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-06 08:03:42-05

TUCSON, Ariz. — A simple buy gets complicated for a Tucson man after he found an ad on the Letgo.com website. In early December, Fred Ethridge went online in search of a travel trailer for work and found an $800 RV on Letgo.com. Ethridge liked the price of the RV and immediately contacted the seller. Soon after making contact Ethridge says he was quickly roped into a string of emails from a woman named "Diane". Invoices quickly showed up via email along with a customer service number.

"Everything seemed perfectly fine so I paid for it. I emailed the lady she emailed me back and forth a couple of times she said Ebay would get in touch with me on the invoice. I think there were about 12 or 14 emails," Ethridge said.

After making the call Ethridge says he was told to buy four Ebay cards at $200 a pop, a major red flag. The Federal Trade Commission says more scammers are demanding payment with gift cards than ever before. Less than 24 hours after the first email a call from the so called customer service number came in making the Ethridge suspicious.

"The next morning it was supposed to be shipped out they called and told me that I needed insurance. It just rung a bell $600 in insurance on a trailer that I only paid $800 for all refundable," Ethridge said.

The phone call lead the victim to realize that he had been swindled out of $800, he checked into the money on the Ebay gift cards and discovered the cards were emptied. He immediately called Ebay for help confirming it was an ongoing scam and reported the incident to police. KGUN 9 reached out to Letgo.com and Ebay about the issue and Letgo.com released the following statement;

"We don't tolerate someone misusing our marketplace like this. We encourage this user to contact our customer care team as soon as possible so we can look into this and help local law enforcement with an investigation. While issues like this are extremely rare, we always encourage users to complete transactions in a busy, public place, and check out what they are purchasing in person first."

KGUN 9 also called the number listed on Ethridge's invoice and reached out to the the woman named "Diane" via email and got no response.
Both Legto.com and Ebay say you should report scams to customer service and the FBI asap. Ebay also says the biggest red flags are excessively cheap prices and pressure to quickly get the deal done and paid by gift card. Adding that legitimate purchases are typically done by credit card, paypal, check or cash in person.

Ebay security scam site...https://pages.motors.ebay.com/buy/security/index.html

Common warning signs for consumers:

  • Know the approximate value of the equipment or vehicle you are interested in buying by using trusted resources on the internet. If it appears too good to be true, it probably is.
  • FACT: Criminals will make the equipment or vehicle very appealing and tempt you with a price you don't want to miss out on.

Seller pushes for speedy completion of the transaction and requests payment through a service or method that can put the money in their hands quickly.

Escrow accounts can also be used to securely transfer funds to the seller (providing that you set up the escrow account, not the seller). eBay recommends using our approved escrow service with Escrow.com [nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com] [nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com]. Learn more about using an escrow service [nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com] [nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com]. Direct bank transfers and wire payments may also be requested by the Seller. Please proceed with caution with these payment methods and remember it is always a good idea to inspect the vehicle in person before sending any money. With all transactions, we want to encourage you to work with the Seller. In addition, you may want to consider providing payment at the time you pick up the equipment or vehicle.

You cannot meet the seller or look at the equipment or vehicle prior to sending a payment. The seller may be very polite and apologetic, but cannot meet you due to a special circumstance, such as:

  • Seller is being/has been deployed by the military
  • Seller is going through a divorce (or getting married)
  • Death in the family or a health issue of a relative
  • They work on a boat or are out of town for an extended period of time
  • Received through inheritance and not needed
  • FACT: Legitimate sellers are motivated and will make every effort to meet with all potential buyers immediately. If the seller cannot meet, they will designate another person to show the vehicle on their behalf.

You found the equipment or vehicle on another website and the seller tells you eBay will protect the transaction, such as:

The only way to buy equipment or a vehicle on eBay is by logging into your eBay account with a user ID/email address and password. One of the following needs to be true:

  • You were the winning bidder on the auction
  • You clicked 'Buy it now'
  • You sent a best offer and the seller accepted it

In these cases, the item will always appear in the purchase history of your eBay accountCriminals want to lure you into feeling safe. They take extra effort to disguise their websites and emails to look like they are from eBay or associated with eBay, when they are not. See Example [nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com] [nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com]

  • Emails have poor grammar, broken English or have other distinguishing errors (e.g., misspelled words, incorrect punctuation)
  • Communications may be overly formal or sound very mechanical. The responses are not personalized and could include general terms like 'Dear Sir' and 'Good Day'
  • Emails are not sent from the 'eBay.com [nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com] [nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com]’ domain. Criminals may have a recognizable word in their email name or as part of their domain name, such as 'eBay' or 'VPP' (e.g.,eBay@vppinsurance.com) but these are NOT sent from eBay.
  • Email contains false information like invoice numbers, transaction case IDs, or VPP case ID #s

If you are suspicious about an email that claims to be from eBay, sign in to My eBay and click the Messages tab. If you do NOT see the same message "From eBay", the email is likely fake. To report a fake email, forward it to spoof@ebay.com

If you are still unsure if the vehicle being offered is legitimate, contact eBay Customer Service [nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com] [nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com].

https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/common-fraud-schemes/online-vehicle-sale-fraud [nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com] [nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com]

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2019/06/put-brakes-phony-online-car-sales [nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com] [nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com]

https://www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices/oklahomacity/news/press-releases/fbi-oklahoma-city-raises-public-awareness-to-online-vehicle-fraud [nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com] [nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com]

https://www.fbi.gov/audio-repository/ftw-podcast-online-vehicle-fraud-050318.mp3/view [nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com] [nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com]

https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/common-fraud-schemes/online-vehicle-sale-fraud [nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com] [nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com]

https://www.ic3.gov/media/2018/180117.aspx [nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com] [nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com]