“You’ve been scammed!” Teen out $1,500 after online car buying scam

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GREENDALE (WITI) — You can buy just about everything online, including a car. Before you snag that great deal for a new set of wheels — there's some important information that can steer you in the right direction.

Jason Gallitz was on the hunt for a truck and found one on Craigslist.

"It was a real nice F150 for only $1,500. It was an incredible deal," Gallitz recalled.

Gallitz e-mailed the seller who responded. The seller claimed that they were being deployed overseas and needed to sell their car quickly.

After a few e-mails back and forth, a deal was setup.

The seller said they would use eBay Motors as a third party. Gallitz then received an e-mail from what appeared to eBay Motors with payment instructions.

"I would use the Reloadit cards and then this 'eBay' would take those numbers. Once they had the money, then the truck would be shipped to me on a flatbed," Gallitz explained.

Gallitz put $1,500 on Reloadit cards and sent the information, but eBay Motors never got the money and Gallitz never got a truck -- so he reached out to the company.

"They kind of just told me straight up…you've been scammed," Gallitz said.

The scam is so common eBay Motors has a fraud alert on their blog and is working with the FBI.

eBay Motors gave FOX6's Contact 6 this statement about the issue:

"Auto shoppers can be confident in their purchase by ensuring they start and complete their transactions on trusted sites like eBay Motors and never use money wire services to send payments. When you start and end your transaction on eBay Motors, you're covered."

Gallitz learned a tough lesson.

"Never ever pay for a truck you cannot go see in person," Gallitz said.

If you're buying a car online you can spot red flags. They include:

  • A seller who pushes for a quick transaction
  • A seller who won't meet in person or let you see the vehicle first
  • Cars priced below their market value

Another good thing to keep in mind, if a deal looks too good to be true — it probably is.

If you think you've been a part of a similar scam, forward any suspicious e-mails to eBay Motors at car@ebay.com. In addition, file a complaint about the crime with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).


  • Cheri

    Uh ya this scam has been going on for well over 10 years now, it’s nothing new. Why this kid didn’t do like 10 minutes of homework before making such a large transaction is beyond me. Well, lesson learned on his end I guess.

  • Virgel

    Even adults get scammed too. A friend of my sister who is a retired Police officer got scammed almost like this, by buying online thru Craigslist.

    • ltdarkstar

      If people use common sense and stop being greedy they won’t get scammed. If you are a retired police officer and you fall for this stuff you really shouldn’t have been in law enforcement in the first place… this scam has seriously been going on for 20 years now, I heard about it all the time when I worked for an online car sales website from ’99 thru ’07 and existed well before that according to my boss who used to run one of the most popular automotive magazines. He’s published articles on it for years now, but people don’t do 5 minutes of research, get greedy for a good deal or just don’t use common sense when making these deals.

  • Robert Frost

    A little light bulb should have clicked on an his head once that person whom was selling this imaginary car said used a Moneypak card which are untraceable. These scams like this have been going on for several years now so its nothing new always do a research first. Just a tip if you’re looking for a car on Craigslist check the phone number for mulit listing if it has mulit listing from the same owner its a scam to be honest this what we call carflippers whom state they are going overseas to sell the car faster then end up re-posting underneath a name identification

  • harleymom117

    They should also warn against anyone wanting to use PayPal to pay for something they have to come pick up. ALWAYS INSIST on CASH. And the most basic — but most correct — rule of thumb: if something seems too good to be true, it IS. Walk away.

  • Jane

    If you’ve lost money in a Moneygram or western
    union scam, here’s what
    to do:
    If you have already filed a complaint with
    Moneygram or Enter your comment here…western union,
    there is no need to do anything further at this time.
    If you have NOT filed a complaint with Moneygram
    or western union you
    need to do so. Call Moneygram or western union at
    1-800-Moneygram or western union to
    file your complaint.
    The FTC is working on developing a refund program
    appropriately distribute the $18M, however, given
    the settlement is capped at $18M, the FTC is
    consumers to that fact that they will only be eligible
    a partial refund (i.e., so don’t expect to recover all
    monies you may have lost as a result of the scam).
    If you do participate in the refund program, you will
    give up your legal rights (translation: you can still
    pursue legal recourse).
    If you are sure you really lost your cash to
    scammer using money gram or western union
    contact lostfinancecontrol37@gmail.com

  • Alyssa Esmaeili

    This happened to me as well, it was on a website then “forwarded” to ebay . I filed a police report, and they didn’t even seem to care.

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