The Craigslist, eBay Scam That Cost Us $3,000

By JOHN M. DERBY
Times Founding Publisher
July 4, 2018

The deal seemed too good to true. It was a 30 ft. travel trailer for $2,000, and it was to be shipped free to California.

It was listed on Craigslist with a picture. The owner and the trailer were in Billings, Montana. The trailer was said to be located in an eBay warehouse, and therefore the payment needed to be made to eBay in eBay cards.

There were lots of red flags, however, with two very reputable firms, and pictures of the trailer inside and out, we e-mailed to find out more about it.

It seems the owner was a woman who had just been involved in a divorce, and the trailer had belonged to her husband. She just wanted to get rid of it.

Everything seemed so professional. The manner of payment. The e-mails back and forth with eBay logo on all the communication.

There was a call number listed as 1-818-287-6651. So we called and talked to the eBay “agent.” We e-mailed back and forth to the owner, and she seemed on the up and up.

Not long after we decided to buy the trailer, we were notified that in order to have the trailer shipped, we would need to send another $1,000 to cover the insurance for transporting the trailer, and the seven days of inspection during which we had an opportunity to decide if the trailer was what we had been told it was. This money was fully refundable, according to the information we received.

Our final payment was made, using the local Target store to purchase the $1,000 in eBay cards.

We had never purchased eBay cards before, and did not know how they regulated the fraudulent use of their cards.

Several days went by after the final paynment. The eBay representative said that delivery of the trailer would be in three days. We believed her and prepared a site on our property to locate the trailer.

Another day went by, and we called the chat number to find out how the shipment was going. We called 15 times that day. No answer.

We called eBay’s head office in San Jose and they had no record us. They had no live chat line at that number. Then we asked if they had a problem with fraud. They said there had been problems.

We asked what they were doing about the problem. They said they were trying to stop it, however, they were not optimistic about getting our money back. They took down the name and email address of the woman, and said they would check her out.

The chat line phone had long since been cut off.

Our next contact was to Craigslist, and the same question was put to them. How did they try to stop the fraudulent use of Craigslist? While it seemed to be a problem, there presently didn’t seem to be a solution.

This editorial is published as a warning for others who may find things on Craigslist which are “Too Good To Be True,” and to people who use eBay, assuming their monetary system is safe. It is not.


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