CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Buyer beware. If something online looks too good to be true, it’s probably a scam.
Keith Hanson, 16, in Mooresville thought he was getting the deal of a lifetime for two jet skis but he was left high and dry.
“In the beginning I was shocked, I was really upset,” said his mother, Dianne Hanson.
She says she can’t believe what happened to her son who has been saving his money and dreaming about buying two jet skis.
“It’s something he really wanted, he’s wanted for two years,” Dianna said.
Hanson, on June 9, saw an ad on Facebook marketplace for two 2007 SEA DOO GTX jet skis and a trailer for $1,200. He contacted the owner identified as Olga Wanner who claimed to be a verified eBay seller. She wanted him to pay for the purchase using eBay gift cards.
“We bought the eBay cards for $1,200, he paid for them, we have emails stating that eBay verified the payments and they would be delivered on June 15,” Dianne said.
But days later, the seller wanted more money to complete the deal.
“Then he got another email stating that he needed to pay another $1,000 for insurance that this woman also had to pay but that we would get refunded for that. It was like an insurance thing,” Dianne said.
They purchased another $1,000 in eBay gift cards and completed the transaction. That was the last correspondence with the seller who kept the gift cards and the jet skis.
WBTV responded to the same ad and the scam artist offered to sell us the same two jet skis she just sold to the Hansons. When WBTV told her we were reaching out for the Hansons, there was no response.
“What I’m concerned about too is they’re advertising all over, these same jet skis for sale. It might not just be me or my son losing money, it may be ten people or 20 people,” Dianne said.
Days later, the same ad for the jet skis popped up on Facebook in Virginia and Tennessee.
WBTV contacted eBay to see if they could trace the gift cards used to make the purchase. Their response:
“This is a scam that actually takes place off eBay, but uses the eBay brand name in attempt to instill trust in the transaction.”
WBTV also reached out to the Mooresville Police Department.
“It is a common scam on internet sites. Fraudulent information and photos are posted, but no product is ever delivered after payment. The simplest guidance we can provide is ‘do not purchase items online using gift cards – and certainly do not send them in advance of receiving the merchandise,‘ Assistant Chief Eric Henderson said.
“The person I feel worse for is my son. That’s who I feel bad for,” said Hanson.
WBTV asked eBay if it’s possible to use their money-back guarantee policy to refund the Hansons’ purchase, but since the deal wasn’t completed on eBay, there is no way to refund the gift cards.