A Marathon woman was scammed out of $8,500 in a scam involving a fake eBay website and the sale of a recreational vehicle using gift cards.
The 67 year old female victim told Deputy Ryan Chlebanowski she contacted a woman who had listed an RV for sale on the eBay motors website. The two women agreed on a price of $10,000 for the vehicle. The suspect, who gave her name as Juliana Thompson, told the victim to use the eBay Vehicle Purchase Protection program as a protection against fraud.
The victim was directed to a special eBay web page with a “Buy it Now” option. The web page gave her given instructions in how to set up the vehicle protection plan and how to make payments using eBay gift cards. She was instructed to purchase $10,000 worth of eBay gift cards and she was given an email address to send the gift card information to, in order to make payment on the purchase. The instructions said once all the payments were made, the RV would be shipped to her and that if anything went wrong, eBay would refund the money under the protection program.
She made the payments using multiple cards and never received the RV. When she contacted eBay customer support, they told her she’d been scammed. She was able to cancel three of the gift cards before they were cashed, but is still out $8,500.00.
EBay told her the eBay Motors page used in the scam was a fake page and did not belong to them. It is easy to set up a fake web page and often, the web addresses used in frauds are similar to the real thing. Fake web pages often use real looking logos and page layouts similar to the real pages.
There is a warning on the eBay web site that the vehicle protection plan they offer is ONLY for vehicles purchased directly on eBay; not for any other type of vehicle purchase. Many fraud schemes utilize payment by gift cards and this should always be red flag. If anyone asks you to pay in advance using a gift card, green dot card, a money order or a money gram, be extremely cautious; there is a good chance you are dealing with a scammer and once they cash out these methods of payment, it is nearly impossible to get the money back.