Online deal for motorcycle turns out to be gift card scam for Dandridge man

Investigations

DANDRIDGE, Tenn. (WATE) — In the age of the internet, buying and selling used items online has become easier than ever by clicking just a few buttons, but you have to be alert to scams.

Scammers use online shopping sites looking to con either the seller or buyer out of their hard-earned cash. A man in Dandridge shared his experience with us on how he was caught off guard.

It’s the roar of the engine and the sense of freedom that Jonathan DeLeonardo enjoys when riding his motorcycle. He’s a skilled mechanic and has kept his 20-year-old Yamaha on the road since buying it used several years ago.

In early April he went online to Offer Up checking for a second motorcycle; this one for his wife.

“I was looking at a 2007 CBR 600. It’s more of like a sports type motorcycle.”

Jonathan DeLeonardo

The cost of the used sports bike, $1,000.

He was unaware that the shopping site Offer Up urges its users to not accept prepaid debit and gift cards.

The basic idea of Offer Up is that it functions as an online garage sale, all items listed are used. On the site, financial payments occur either in person or if you decide to ship the item, either Apple Pay or a credit card are the method of payments.

From the so-called seller came a quick response to his inquiry about the Honda.

“This is my husband’s bike who recently passed away. The final sales price is $1,000. I got a new job and moved the Great Falls, Montana,” the response read.

The would-be seller “Mary Holmes” sent Jonathan an easy-to-copy eBay payment plan schedule. He felt that since eBay’s Buyer Protection Program was reputable, he figured it would be on the up-and-up.

Unaware that Offer Up does not accept prepaid cards Jonathan picked up five $200 cards.

“They asked me to purchase eBay cards which they sell at CVS, Walgreens, all over the place. It’s just like cash. So, I take the cards, give them the numbers on the back, like you do right there.

So, once you send them those numbers, the money is immediately gone. Of course, knowing that now.”

Jonathan DeLeonardo

Last December, Crystal Turner found a used three-wheeled motorcycle for sale on eBay. A brand new Can-Am Spyder cost $16,000, a used one at $800 couldn’t beat it.

“It was going to be a Christmas present for my kids. $800 I can do.

“I’m in the Army with my military medical team.”

Crystal Turner

The would-be seller, “Christine Lanford,” the name the scammer was using, sent a series of text messages to Crystal convincing her to buy $800 in gift cards.

“Well, I go to Kroger and get the gift card, come home and send them. Boom. That evening is when I got a request for $800 more.”

Crystal Turner

To avoid scams on Offer Up, eBay, or Craigslist shopping sites only purchase items that are local where you can meet up with the seller at a safe place and retrieve your item there. If you can’t meet locally, avoid sending any type of prepaid money card.

Offer Up is safe to use, but there are plenty of precautions that users must take to avoid scams.

This is true no matter what app you choose, even the best buy and sell apps leave you vulnerable to scam artists. If you can, buy local and avoid using prepaid cards.

“Really I know the money is gone.”

Jonathan DeLeonardo

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