Man falls for scam trying to make online vehicle purchase

Published: Jun. 14, 2017 at 12:21 AM CDT
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A Wichita man thought he found the truck he had been saving for. He was willing to take a risk and make his first ever major purchase online.

But he learned it was too good to be true.

Now, Brian Hatfield is proud of his new-to-him pickup truck.

What he's not so proud of is the journey he took to get to this point. It started when Hatfield found a truck on Craigslist: a nice, clean, 2003 blue Dodge Ram for $2,000.

"It had several photos for the inside shots, the outside shots, side versions, back versions, bumper, inside, also the serial number inside the door panel," Hatfield says.

The seller said she was being transferred for work and had no need for the truck she was selling in Hawaii.

"It just thought it was a legit thing, because, why would somebody actually deceive somebody like that?" Hatfield said.

Through emails, the seller insisted on using eBay to handle the transaction. Hatfield followed the instructions sent in a separate email that appeared to come from eBay. He loaded $2,000 onto prepaid cards and then emailed the card numbers back to eBay.

"Three hours later, she said she needed an additional $1,500 for what they call 'transportation fees,'" Hatfield says.

He loaded up $1,500 on prepaid cards and sent along those numbers too.

Five days passed, and Hatfield says he didn't have his new truck.

"I called her back several times," he says.

The Better Business Bureau has tips for buying online:

1. Confirm the sale through the third party.

2. Be wary of prepaid card payment.

3. Use a credit card.

4.Deal with an established business.

Hatfield learned his lesson and eventually was able to use Craigslist to safely buy a new truck. He made sure he was dealing with a local seller and that he saw the truck in-person before he paid anything.

Hatfield says he did contact eBay and the company asked for all the emails between him and the seller. The BBB says scammers often spoof companies, making sure emails appear to come from legit places like eBay.