Scam lures prospective car buyers with low prices on Craigslist

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DENVER -- A new bait-and-switch scam targets people looking to buy a car. Crooks offer cars and trucks for ridiculously low prices on sites like Craigslist, then send people to fake sellers they say are on eBay, but they are not.

An Aurora woman tells FOX31 she found a 2004 Toyota Camry on Craigslist for sale for $1,000. The deal was too good to be true.

The scammer said she was sending the woman to a so-called eBay “seller” who sent her fake papers and took an additional $1,000 for delivery fees. The woman later checked with eBay for verification and got a surprise.

"He said, ‘You just got scammed'" she said.

EBay tells the FOX31 Problem Solvers they are working with the FBI to alert consumers about this scam.

In the meantime, look for the red flags, which include an unrealistic price and sellers who transfer you to eBay from another website, then push  for quick payments through gift cards or money transfers.

If you feel uneasy about buying a car through individual online sellers, another option is having a professional look for you.

"Start with a reputable company and do your homework," said Jeff Strizich, general manager of auto brokerage H.M. Brown and Associates.

Strizich says a professional broker can check out important details, even if you don’t have a large budget.

"We check Carfax, Auto Check, we ensure that the title is free and clear, make sure there are no liens on the car. Then, we have the car mechanically inspected," Strizich said.

A flat fee may be involved at some brokerage firms, but do the math and determine if the added peace of mind is worth it.

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