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On Your Side Alert: A warning about what to watch for with online car sales scams

(WWBT) -

If you're thinking about buying a car online, here's a warning. One of our viewers says he almost fell for a scam when he tried to buy a truck.

Tom Sawyer started his search for a truck in Facebook Marketplace, a place he'd used with great success in the past.

"In the post, it said someone was selling the truck for a neighbor and provided an email address," said Sawyer. "I inquired about the truck, got a response back. The response gave me details of the truck."

Sawyer says the seller claimed the truck was in Nebraska, and the seller offered to pay the shipping, which sounded like a deal.

Then there was a catch. The seller was concerned about shipping the car without a payment, which actually seemed like a reasonable concern to Sawyer.

"They had set up an eBay account where I would pay eBay. They would hold the money, and I would have that for five days to make sure the truck was legit and the people were legit," said Sawyer.

The seller said eBay would send an invoice.

Well, Sawyer says he got an invoice, but it wasn't from eBay and that invoice was full of red flags that had him knowing he was almost the victim of a scam.

"eBay had said that the email address was incorrect,” said Sawyer. “That they would always use eBay.com anytime they were communication with a buyer or seller."

He said the payment instructions were the true tell that something was wrong.

Sawyer said the email suggested he should pay using green dot eBay cards and not to register the cards.

The seller also asked him to send credit card info and copies of his receipt in an email, and Sawyer knew that couldn't be right.

We checked the eBay website, and that was not an approved payment form.

We also called the Better Business Bureau and was told these were all sure signs to walk away from the sale.

You should never ever provide this much personal information to your bank account.

"Even though I did the homework and looked at the invoice and knew there was a scam, there [are] some people out there that don't know it's a scam and would make payment in full and would be out the money," said Sawyer. "I love NBC12, and I've seen so many of these stories on air. And you know, I just felt obligated to go ahead and submit my story on air to warn people to do their homework before they purchase anything on the internet or anything like that.”

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