Be wary of buying big ticket items online

BBB warns of Craigslist scam

If you are looking to purchase a vehicle or other big ticket items and researching online, be aware of a scam that is circulating in mid-Missouri. Here's how it works.

The item for sale is listed on Craigslist with only an email address for communication.

The seller will offer a well below market value price on the item for sale, claiming they are in a hurry to sell as they are in the military and being sent out of the country (or some variation of this theme).

Because they were leaving the country, they tell you they are using a third party to handle the transaction, such as "Amazon Payments" or "Ebay Protection" for example.

Receipt of the customer's "Amazon Payment" secures the item and are told they will receive it within 3 days, are given 5-7 days to receive a refund if they are not satisfied, and the seller would pay for the return shipping.

The scam is that the third party is not actually a real company. They only communicate via email and provide a link to their website, which is designed to look legitimate and are asked to provide payment information. Once they have this information, the communication with them stops and you lose your money.

Here are some tips to keep in mind from the mid-Missouri BBB.

-Meet the seller and see the item before purchase. If they do not agree to that, it is most likely a scam.

- Avoid using a third party for payment and shipping. Pay the seller directly if possible.

- Below market value pricing should be a red flag

- Be wary of using wire transfer or Green Dot

-Moneypak for payment. Once it's gone, it's gone.   

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