On Your Side: Classified Con

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News 12 at 6, June 18, 2007

North Augusta-- A North Augusta woman says when it comes to buying a big ticket item out of a classified ad, buyer beware, especially when the price is way too good to be true.

If you're in the market for a car, truck or anything else that costs big bucks, the classified ads in any paper can be a great way to find one for a cheaper price.

But if that price is thousands of dollars less than what it should be, you may want to keep looking.

A few weeks ago, Crissy Waters thought she had found the car she's always been looking for.

"It sounded great. This was an $8,000 2003 Land Rover," she said.

Crissy saw the ad for the car in this classified ad section of a local paper.

It says the car has all the bells and whistles anyone could ever want and the price sounded fantastic.

So Crissy emailed the supposed owner and got a strange story.

"He was now in Glasgow and he was going to sell it in the U.S. because it was too big of a car to have over there," she said.

On top of that, the seller wanted her to send a hefty down payment before she ever saw the car.

A quick check on the web pulled up many 2003 Land Rovers, very similar to the one Crissy wanted to buy. The prices were anywhere from $19,000 to more than $50,000.

Suddenly, the $8,000 one sounded fishy to Crissy.

So, she asked for a VIN number to check on the history of the car, and that's when the seller cut off communication.

There were some big red flags in Crissy's situation that you should be aware of.

First, if a price is way too low, be very suspicious.

Second, if it involves an overseas buyer or sell, tread very carefully.

Third, if you can't inspect the car to make sure it exists, you may want to look elsewhere.

A message crissy is going to take to heart when she actually buys her car.

"I'm gonna see it first and then I'm gonna sit in it and gonna know it exists," she said.

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