Police warn of fake eBay Motors scam

WALKER, LA (WAFB) - The Walker Police Department is warning residents about a scam after two people were defrauded when they tried to buy vehicles from a website believed to be eBay Motors.

Officials say in both instances, the victims negotiated prices for vehicles and sent certified funds to the persons believed to be the sellers of the vehicles. In each instance, it was later determined that the transaction was fraudulent and that the eBay Motors was never actually involved in the transactions; it only appeared that the transaction was being conducted under the watchful eye of eBay.

The police department would like to remind people to use extreme care when making online purchases, particularly purchases involving high dollar items, such as motor vehicles.

There are a few ways you can protect yourself before buying items online:

Avoid paying with cash, cashier's checks, certified funds, wire transfers or through services such as Western Union and MoneyGram. Instead, use a credit card or establish a Pay Pal Account, both of which protect you against fraud. If you must pay with cash, check, money order, etc., reserve such purchases to low priced items and deal with sellers who have strong seller reputations and positive buyer feedback;

Never rely upon email. Internet email is very insecure as subjects you to computer spam, viruses and phishing. Email that appears legitimate and convincing (even if it appears to be from eBay or PayPal or your bank), may be designed to trick you into disclosing personal financial information. Watch for "tells" that may suggest that an email is bogus, including statements related to urgency, the need to confirm your account, the pending suspension of your account, etc. And if such an email asks that you click a link to verify your information, chances are that it's fake. Do not click on any links in suspicious email. Instead, delete the email immediately. If you are concerned that there is truly a problem which requires your attention, the company will let you know. For example, a message from eBay will be sent to your eBay account mailbox under "My Messages" which is shown on your eBay page;

Verify the legitimacy and reliability of a seller by reviewing the Sellers prior buyer feedback. Avoid buying from someone who has no buyer feedback. Also examine the feedback percentage and try to avoid doing business with buyers having a feedback of 95 percent or less. Positive feedback is a good indicator that you will have a positive experience with the seller.

Like anything you do involving the internet, please use good judgment. If while using eBay you see something you believe is suspicious or questionable, you are urged to call the police.

Copyright 2014 WAFB. All rights reserved. The Walker Police Department contributed to this report.