Monique London thought she found the perfect used car advertised in a Facebook group she belongs to. It was an ad for a 2004 Lexus RX330 for $2,500. She adds, "It was in really good shape. It was a decent price."
Monique responded to the Facebook ad and received emails from the seller with more pictures of the SUV and an explanation of why she wanted to sell it.
"She said she went through a divorce, and it was painful to have the car. I was like OK she just wanted to unload it." Monique said.
It seemed like the perfect fit so Monique wanted to buy the Lexus. When she reached out to the seller, she was surprised with how the seller wanted to be paid.
Monique said, "She said I'll send you over the information from Amazon car payments, that way we are both protected and you won't have any issues and both of us can feel safe during this transaction."
Monique wasn't familiar with this type of payment, but she thought it seemed legit when the seller sent her this invoice along with a purchase protection.
SEE THE BOGUS INVOICE MONIQUE RECEIVED (.pdf)
The red flags started to go up as she read through the invoice. Plus, she continued to ask the seller to see the vehicle in person and that wasn't an option.
"That's when I started thinking, this seems kind of weird. I don't want to just buy a car I haven't seen. I won't buy a car like that, I have to see what it looks like," she said.
With a little research, Monique found the same SUV advertised for sale on several different Facebook groups under different sellers. Also, a quick check on Amazon shows it has warnings about this scam on its website. It clearly states people should not send money by using Amazon Payments where the seller claims that Amazon or Amazon Payments will guarantee the transaction.
Scammers are using fake invoices to make it appear they are from Amazon, but they are not. Here's more advice from Amazon on how to avoid getting scammed.
Monique wasn't wasting any more time on the bad deal.
She said, "I sent an email back to the email address that sent me an invoice and I said 'I will not be paying for this with Amazon gift cards, instead I will be using my American Express card. Will you please provide me the information to pay you through that source? No response."
Luckily Monique didn't fall for this scam. However, I have heard from several drivers who have lost thousands of dollars to this scam.
The best advice is you should never buy a vehicle, no matter how good the price is, without seeing it in person. Also, do not pay for the vehicle in gift cards. If the seller won't let you test drive it, walk away from the deal.
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