Baker man reports online car sales scam

Police chief says key tipoff is use of pre-paid Visa card for purchase

By Jayson Jacoby, The Baker City Herald

Richard Cochran wanted the Jeep.

Badly.

But his excitement about potentially owning the four-wheel drive rig did not suppress his suspicion about the online seller.

For one thing the price was almost too good to be true, said Cochran, who is disabled and lives in Baker City.

The $2,500 asking price for a 2005 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon with 81,000 miles is more than $10,000 below the typical price range for that model, according to the Kelley Blue Book.

Cochran, who learned about the Jeep through the letgo app, became convinced that the offer was a scam when he received an email explaining how he was supposed to pay for the vehicle.

A pre-paid Visa card.

Five of them, in fact, since the cars have a limit of $500, and the Jeep’s price was $2,500.

The use of pre-paid cards is a telltale sign of many scams, including online services as well as ones conducted by telephone.

“I’m not aware of any case when that’s legitimate,” Baker City Police Wyn Lohner said of the pre-paid card requirement. “You should never have to go get these cards to make a purchase.”

Cochran said he hopes other residents will be diligent, and careful, if they intend to buy items online.

See more in the March 17, 2017, issue of the Baker City Herald.

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The Baker City Herald
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