A Brunswick County woman is out $4,000 after she says she was scammed while buying a car on the internet. She may never see her money again, but wants to make sure you do not fall for the same thing she did. It all started last month when Christle Canipe started birthday shopping for her daughter, Tressa. Canipe said, "Well, I've been looking for my daughter a car, she's turning 16 May 1, and I went to Craig'slist, and I found a 2004 Jeep Wrangler on there." The Jeep was listed for $4,000 -- an amazing deal, at less than half of the Kelly Blue Book value for that model. The seller explained in e-mails that she was going through a divorce, and just wanted to get rid of the vehicle quickly. "I e-mailed and asked her where can I come look at the vehicle, and she said that she's out of town because her and her husband separated, and the jeep was in stock where it could be shipped out," Canipe said. She asked repeatedly to speak to the seller over the phone, but she would only respond by e-mail with details on how to finance the vehicle online, through eBay Motors. Then Canipe started getting e-mails she thought were from eBay, giving her directions for sending a moneygram to an agent in San Jose, California, where eBay is headquartered. Canipe wired the money weeks ago, and someone picked it up, but the Jeep never arrived. NewsChannel 3 called eBay to find out where Canipe's money went and were told the man the moneygram was addressed to, never worked for them -- and the woman Canipe knew as the seller is nowhere to be found. Canipe has since filed a report with the Boiling Spring Lakes Police Department, but investigators are less than optimistic about recovering her money. Boiling Spring Lakes Police Chief Emmett Ballree said, "You're also dealing with the internet and there's no internet police. Realistically I think it would probably be a long shot." Chief Ballree says an e-mail address and the name of a man Canipe wired money to, is not a lot to go on. He says his department doesn't have the resources to send an investigator to California, to try and find her $4,000. Ballree said, "We're talking about internet fraud here, which is very prevalent and getting bigger every day, and unfortunately something we never dealt with in the past, but even the smallest towns and agencies have to start learning how to deal with it because we're seeing it more and more." As for Canipe, this single mom may have just learned a very expensive lesson. "Depressing," she said. "Makes me sick, I can't sleep good at night thinking about it. I don't trust nobody else on the internet, if you can't see it, can't touch it, don't buy it." A spokesperson for eBay Motors advises consumers to stay alert when interacting online, just as they would in the real world. They say to never pay with cash or instant cash transfer services, such as western union or moneygram. And if you're buying a car through eBay Motors make sure you're using the eBay Motors web site, not going through e-mails where someone could be using the eBay Motors logo to make themselves look legitimate.
- Video Central
- About WWAY