If you like scouting for deals you’re probably just like me… constantly refreshing your Facebook Marketplace feed. However, you have to be careful – scammers are out there, and they’re closer than you think. The holiday season is prime time for thieves, scammers and identity thieves who hope to cash out as people become preoccupied with gift-buying, festivities, and travel. If you see an online marketplace ad that’s too good to be true – it probably is. A local Blackstone Resident sent us this story.
Found on Facebook Marketplace
A Blackstone resident found an incredible price on Facebook marketplace recently. If you know anything about Airstreams – they’re great trailers but they’re never cheap. This one was listed in Providence, RI for only $1,200. What’s the catch?
The Blackstone resident was curious so they messaged the seller.
There’s a couple of red flags at this point.
- User that listed the item doesn’t have a profile picture
- Information posted is limited (one picture with barely any details) – the VIN code on the ad doesn’t resolve correctly or cannot be looked up
- User asks you to contact someone else off Facebook… an email that is as vague and as fake as they come
Sure, there have been instances that someone will post an item on Facebook for someone else. Most cases, its for older family members but occasionally you do have some people who chose not to be on social media.
The Blackstone resident was skeptical already but figured – there’s nothing they could lose if they inquire. They emailed the so-called “aunt”.
Our Blackstone resident emailed on Friday. They received a reply three days after.
Okay, that email sounds a little legitimate. There’s more information about the airstream trailer BUT it doesn’t make sense. eBay does have vehicles on their platform but I’ve never heard of “they will contact you to explain the entire procedure”.
If you think the Blackstone resident stopped at this point, they didn’t. Curiosity led them to dig deeper. They sent a Name, Address, Zipcode, and Phone number since these are available online if you really look up anyone.
The eBay Email
A few hours after the Blackstone resident emailed some details they received a reply again from the “seller” to look out for the eBay email. The seller didn’t reply to request for more images, number of miles on the trailer, nor did the seller send any reply to the Blackstone resident’s request to check the vehicle up close. When the Blackstone resident opened the eBay email they knew it was a scam. Check out the email below.
What is the BIG RED FLAG on the eBay email?
If you’re going to pay for any goods or services, you should NOT be paying via Gift Cards.
As soon as you see an email like this – DO NOT click on any links. Be careful as you may also get hacked.
Other red flags
Free shipping for a vehicle that’s so cheap? Impossible. Shipping out an airstream trailer will likely cost more than the amount they’re even selling it for.
The address provided on the “verified seller” info is an address that is for sale. You can check address legitimacy on Zillow as well.
The phone numbers indicated on the email are tagged as scam numbers. Google these numbers and you will see a lot of forum posts connected with the so-called Customer Service number.
It’s a good thing that our Blackstone Resident did not fall for the scam. However, not everyone would be so lucky. It is important to be informed of scams out there — this is an old scam that has been around for years. Now with Facebook marketplace being popular and COVID making everyone stay home… it is important now more that ever to be vigilant. Tell your neighbors, your family, your friends about this kind of scam. It is happening everywhere.
What to do when you see a scam
We are hoping you do not fall for a scam but if you do hear or see of one – please report right away as what the Blackstone Resident did.
Here’s video of lawyer Steve Lehto explaining a similar scam of a vehicle being sold on Facebook marketplace below value.
If you think you’ve been scammed, please call the local authorities.