Don’t be a victim of online scams: warning signs to look out for

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Edward Siegel knows a lot about cars, it's his business. He owns Collision Connection Restoration, a body shop in Baton Rouge that specializes in restoring cars.

Siegel decided to sell one of his cars- a race car. He advertised the item on the classified site

He was inundated with messages right away.

"Yeah you get excited. You think, I'm going to sell my item," Siegel said.

"You can't wait to talk to them to see if you can get the money out of it that you're looking for... and then all of sudden, you get the feeling you are talking to someone overseas and they want to do this through PayPal, and they can reverse the charges and you see that its fraudulent."

Siegel says the majority of the people who sent him messages insisted on handling the transaction through another website, is set up to help people handle payments made online.

Some the text messages from would-be buyers sent up red flags in Siegel's mind.

One of texts reads: "due to the nature of my job, but I can pay from my PayPal account, as I have my bank a/c attached to it, I will need you to give me your PayPal email address so I can the payments asap for the item and please if you don't have a PayPal account yet, it is very easy to."

Several separate people sent the same text also in broken English. And some of them all had something in common.

"I would love to call whom I wanna buy from," the texts reads.

The texts goes on to say, "But I have to let you know that I really appreciate and understand to talk to me but due to my condition. It's so sad to tell you am a deaf…"

Siegel says he could tell many of the people were using the same "deaf" excuse to avoid talking on the phone. They also had plenty other excuses. Some said they we working as merchant marines and off shore and all of them wanted to buy the race car sight unseen.

"They want to pay me and not even know what its worth," Siegel said.

"It's all of those things that when you add them up and realize that its fraud and they are interested in getting money from you."

The Craigslist website has a section that deals with scams. It advises that most people can avoid 99 percent of the scams if they get someone on the phone and eventually deal with them locally and meet them in person.

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