• Action 9 investigates online car-buying scam

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    ORLANDO, Fla. - Action 9 exposes a car-buying scam catching new victims who think they’ve found great deals on Facebook Marketplace and eBay.

    A local man lost $1,600 after the seller tricked him.

    A 2006 Infiniti with low mileage was offered on Facebook Marketplace.

    Trenod Ward responded to the offer by text and reached someone who he thought was a motivated seller.

    “I just want to get rid of it. My husband had a heart attack,” Ward said the seller told him.


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    The seller said she lived out of state and wanted to use eBay Motors to handle the transaction and the shipping.

    Ward checked out that website.

    “That made me feel safe. That made me feel more confident about the purchase itself,” Ward said.

    Ward told the seller he would buy it for $1,600 and then he received an invoice from what appeared to be eBay Motors. The website only accepted eBay cash cards to protect buyers and sellers. He transferred his cash to eBay cards and sent transaction information.

    A week later, Ward was still waiting for delivery of the vehicle.

    “The numbers are disconnected on every line. No contact. No feedback,” Ward said.

    That's when he realized what happened.

    “Yes, I've been scammed,” Ward said.

    The fake eBay Motors websites have burned buyers for years. But now sale listings are showing up on Facebook Market place and even in private groups.

    “I just hope I never do anything like that again,” Brittany Jones said.

    She trusted a seller using a fake eBay Motors website and was cheated out of $1,000.

    The eBay money cards add a false sense of security. Scammers are telling buyers that eBay protects the transaction.

    The cards are legitimate but can easily be used for the wrong reasons.

    EBay has a bold warning on its site that helps consumers detect phony eBay Motors pages.

    Facebook said it uses automated systems to detect the fake ads and shut them down.

    “(It’s) an expensive lesson.  A very expensive lesson,” Ward said.

    According to the FBI, its Internet Crime Center received nearly 27,000 complaints over three years about fake car sales. And the agency claims consumer losses were nearly $54 million.

    The FBI recommends buyers avoid private sellers who won’t meet in person.

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