A Sioux Falls woman trying to sell her car on Craigslist narrowly avoided falling victim to a scammer, not once, but twice.
Craigslist is a great website for people looking to buy or sell everything from a lawn chair to a car. But the Better Business Bureau says Craigslist may also be a place where scammers target sellers. Laureen Mehlert first got an offer from a potential buyer in Memphis and got another one from a person who claimed to be from New York. But she says both offers weren’t what they seemed.
Laureen Mehlert recently put her car up for sale on Craigslist. When an offer for nearly four times the asking price came in, she knew that offer was too good to be true, so she listed the car again and got another offer a couple of months later.
“He was like, ‘I’m going to pay you extra. I’m going to give you $650 and I want you to hold it for me, because I really want this car’,” Laureen Mehlert said.
Mehlert went through with that sale involving a man from New York. Only the transaction took a turn after she she got the check.
“When the check did come and it was in a really weird format and the letter that he sent was very oddly worded,” Mehlert said
Not only did the check look wrong, but so was the name. The man introduced himself online as Mark Winner, yet the letter was from a Jason Brewer. And the check was signed by someone named John. After Mehlert received the check, the buyer had some demands.
“He kept telling me that, ‘You need to deposit this right away.’ There was like a rush to deposit the money and he didn’t want me to go to the bank. He wanted me to go to the ATM,” Mehlert said.
Jessie Schmidt from the Better Business Bureau says Mehlert did a good job of recognizing all of the warning signs for a possible scam.
“Buyer beware, seller beware when you go to do a Craigslist transaction, what do you need to be looking for and what are the red flags?,” Better Business Bureau State Director Jessie Schmidt said.
Melhert is thankful she didn’t fall victim and hopes sharing her story will prevent others.
“It really bothers me that people are trying to take advantage of people, of people like me, I’m just trying to sell my car” Mehlert said.
Even after dealing with these two potential scammers, Melhert is still trying to sell her car on Craigslist, but only to someone local.