KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — With Christmas just weeks away, it’s best to beware of scammers especially those who take advantage of eBay’s massive popularity.
Every day, thousands of people go online checking for deals on eBay. A young mother thought she had found the perfect gift for her teenage boys; however, she told WATE 6 On Your Side’s Don Dare the deal ended up costing her $800.
Scammers will use any available platform to trick innocent people out of their money, and eBay is no exception. the online site involves a lot of trust on behalf of the buyer and the seller, but it’s relatively easy for that trust to be exploited. An eBay user in Kodak found this out the hard way, and just before the holidays.
Every day before she goes off to work, Crystal Turner reads a story to her 4-year-old daughter, Kylee. Like most moms, Mrs.Turner is looking forward to Christmas and buying that perfect gift for her kids.
She has three children — including two teenage boys, Timothy and Thomas. The oldest was asking Santa for a used three wheeled motorcycle — specifically, a Can-Am Spyder. These are new ones. They use an ATV-like chassis.
“It was going to be a Christmas present for my kids. One wanted a four wheeler, one wanted a truck. So what was the best thing between it? Is the Spyder,” Crystal Turner said.
She thought she had found a Can-Am Spyder on eBay at a bargain-basement price.
“Eight hundred dollars, I can do that. You know that would be a heck of a Christmas present for my kids,” Crystal Turner said. “Can you imagine them waking up with that in the yard? I was like, well I can do that!”
Crystal Turner read aloud a note from the would-be “seller” — “‘I’m in the Army with my military medical team'” The “seller,” a Christine Lanford, the name the scammer was using, sent a series of text messages to Crystal describing the perfectly running bike.
“‘The bike is already packed at the shipping company in Wilmington, Delaware. I am selling it at this low price eight-hundred including delivery because I’m recently divorced. I decided to make this deal with eBay online services because this way we will both be protected,'” Crystal Turner read.
With that information, she was convinced the deal was good. So, Crystal sent $800 in eBay gift cards.
“Well I go to Kroger get the gift cards, come home and send them,” Crystal Turner said. “… Boom. That evening is when I got a request for eight hundred more.”
The next text said that the shipment was stopped because the motorcycle was not insured.
“They need another eight hundred dollars,” Crystal Turner said. “So, that’s when I put two and two together. ‘Okay, I’m getting scammed.'”
To avoid being scammed, eBay says always complete transactions through the company’s official channels. Always communicate using the service provided. Ebay says it cannot follow up deals made outside of the platform and cannot verify communications or agreements made on private channels.
“People don’t care it’s Thanksgiving. They don’t care how hard you have to work. They don’t care,” Crystal Turner said. “… They got my money and it’s gone. If it is too good to be true don’t do it. (she laughs) Just don’t do it.”
You only need to fall for that scam one time, and likely it won’t happen again; but eBay is aware of these scams and posts and has a warning on its website.
To be on the safe side, eBay recommends that you document everything. Make an effort to record the packing and posting of every item, including any tracking numbers used. This will help protect you against baseless fraud claims.
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