Military Vet Scammed When Trying To Buy Car Online


UPDATED: Thursday December 5, 2013 5:36 PM

It's back to the bus stop for Sharnai Skinner, after an online car-buying-deal became a car-buying- scam.

"Well, I need a car for school. I did eight years in the Air Force and decided to go full time to school in January,” said Skinner.

She thought she found the car on Craigslist - a 2003 Honda Accord with just 67,000 miles.

"She wanted $1,970 for it. I said ‘Great, I think we have a deal’ and I said ‘How did you want me to pay for it so I can see it?’  She said she was stationed in North Dakota and that she was deploying in December,” explained Skinner.

Sharnai believed it.  After all, the seller was a veteran just like her.

"So I thought she's not going to scam me. She wouldn't do that.  We're together in this, and that's exactly how she got me was the military. She's deploying soon and the she used eBay as a front.”

The scammer sent emails purportedly from eBay Motors directing Sharnai to pay for the car through Western Union.

"When the time came for the car to be here, and it wasn't here - that's when I got the email asking for another $1,000, and that was when the red flag went up like why do you need another thousand?  The car is not here yet?"

When she refused to pay, she got one final email saying the car had been damaged in transit and a refund would be forthcoming. She hasn't seen a penny.

"I've already accepted the fact that I just lost all my savings and it hurts.  I have to take it on the chin. It’s $2,000 gone but I'm a person, I get up and I figure out something else to do.  I got to get a car.  The COTA bus runs all the time. My mom will help me. She's my support system."

EBay Motors told us any car listing starting on another site, like Craigslist, that requires payment to eBay or through an eBay representatives should raise red flags.

However, eBay says if you start and end your transaction on eBay, your car purchase is protected up to $50,000.

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