In the News
The Facebook©-EBay© Scam
Today's column is about a very sophisticated scam and my purpose in writing about it today is to hopefully help you from falling into this trap that almost caught me. I don't know about you but I'm getting hit with more scam attempts than ever and it takes real discernment these days not to get caught. Here's the story.
After consulting with my sons, I decided to start shopping for an upgrade to our RV; its twenty three years old and we thought this would be a good time to replace it.
So I went to Facebook marketplace where there are lots of RVs listed for sale both by dealers and private sellers. After a few days of looking and getting a feel for the market I came across what appeared to be an exceptional unit for sale in terms of features , quality and price. The FB ad said it was being sold by a real estate group in Savannah and showed lots of favorable reviews as a FB seller.
So I wrote to the seller using the contact info on FB. Next morning I got a timely reply answering the questions I had asked and adding that the reason for the sale was the RV had been owned by her grandfather who had recently died of a heart attack. It was a legitimate FB page and all the info I asked for was promptly and professionally answered so I asked where and when the RV could been seen. She responded that she had signed a contract with EBay to handle the sale and that the price included delivery by EBay.
Next I was sent a very sophisticated facsimile of an EBay page including all the graphics, trademarks, fine print including verification of "Fraud Protection" by EBay. Based on that, I clicked the "Buy Now" link on the page and was instantly "Rewarded" from EBay with a "Congratulations" note from EBay including the exploding confetti!
Then I got a separate email from EBay saying they would send me an invoice and if I paid for it within 24 hours it would be delivered by May 18th.
That's when I got really suspicious and wrote back that I wasn't sending any money until I physically saw the RV and held a clean and clear title in my hand. The RV was supposed to be somewhere in FL but I told them in an email I was willing to travel to FL to see it and the title and save the seller the cost of delivery.
That's when the seller lost interest in me and I in her. But I repeat, these were very legitimate (in the case of the Facebook page) and convincing (In the case of the EBay page). It was the most sophisticated scam attempt that has come across my computer yet.
And while this particular scam didn't seem to be particularly targeted at seniors, it was indirectly, because it would be mostly seniors who would be in the market for this kind of an item.
All of this is to bring a warning to you that scammers are out there and they want your money, usually by gaining access to a bank account or credit card in some way.
So, I guess the bottom line is "BUYER BEWARE" especially if it is a significant and one time purchase online.
Please note that in no way am I trying to denigrate either Facebook ® or EBay ® in this column. Both of them can and do serve some wonderful purposes, including for seniors!
Thanks for reading All About Seniors.....see you next week!
Bill Milby, CSA, is a Certified Senior Advisor and a Director of Visiting Angels® of Macon, a non-medical, living assistance service for seniors. If you have questions or comments about this column you can reach him at email@example.com or search for us at www.facebook.com/VisitingAngelsofCentralGA/
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