September 29, 2022

‘Be aware’: Local man says a Facebook car sale nearly turned into a crime

SPOKANE, Wash. — An avid online shopper says a Facebook Marketplace transaction could have left him without a car.

William Hagy says he often meets potential buyers in supermarket parking lots. After, a close call with a possible scammer, he’s glad he spotted red flags and canceled a meet-up.

He’s selling his Range Rover for $12,000 on Facebook Marketplace. On Saturday, he received a message from someone interested in the car, asking where it was located and telling him he was serious about buying it.

“He’s in a big rush to buy it right then,” Hagy said.

The rush was the first red flag. Then, things got even stranger. The potential buyer sent him a bank statement showing he had $350,000 ready to go for the purchase. He then sent photos of a driver’s license and utility bills to back up his identity.

Another red flag that jumped out was the profile didn’t match the documents. Hagy immediately stopped the sale but realizes this could’ve been much worse.

“Now, when it comes to online scams, it turns to carjacking really fast,” he said.

He knows to sell his car he’ll have to meet up with someone so they can test it out. It’s something he’s even more nervous about now.

“I’d just hate to see something like that taken from me fraudulently or even threatened with a gun, a knife or otherwise,” he said.

Police say carjackings can stem from online sales.

“Anytime you’re letting somebody drive your car that you don’t know or trust, it’s susceptible to being stolen. We’ve seen that scheme a number of times,” said
Corporal Nick Briggs with the Spokane Police Department.

Briggs says it’s best to meet somewhere public, bring a friend to the transaction and be aware if the buyer keeps changing the location.

Hagy says his car is still up for sale, but he’s more cautious moving forward.

“I just have an overall lack of security and trust,” Hagy added. “It’s largely concerning, and I cannot stress enough to be aware of potential scams that are happening.”

SPD says if you’re looking for a public spot to meet, Briggs suggests the Northeast police precinct at 5124 N. Market St.

Another big takeaway when doing anything online is to slow down. Criminals want to move fast. The more time you allow yourself to process a situation, red flags can jump out just like they did in this situation.