When looking to buy expensive items online, buyers should beware that they are not being sold something overpriced or defective. And, while businesses aren’t immune to rip-offs, the worst cases seem to come from purchases between individuals; especially big-ticket items like furniture and automobiles.
This swindle starts with a Staten Island, N.Y. man looking to buy a used car, turning to Craigslist.com to find a good deal. But instead of getting a decent car for a reasonable price, the man became the victim of a classic “too-good-to-be-true” scam.
After finding a 2004 Nissan Maxima with an asking price of $7,500, the buyer managed to talk Jose Perez, the Brooklyn seller, down to $6,000, and happily made the purchase. He was content with his new car, but only for about an hour or so. After that hour, the car’s new owner found that his newly acquired vehicle came with a salvaged title, meaning that it was worth nowhere near as much as he paid for it.
Outraged that he just got suckered out of $6,000, the Staten Island man called Perez and demanded his money back. Needless to say, Perez refused. But instead of leaving the stuation there, Perez took an even more drastic action: he went to the Staten Island man’s home and stole the vehicle back—as the new owner watched from his window.
Immediately, the victimized man notified the police of the entire event. They swiftly sprang into action locating the stolen car (which was now being driven by a third man) and Perez.
Perez was arrested and charged with second-degree forgery, second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, fourth-degree grand larceny, fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, third-degree unauthorized use of a vehicle and false advertising, and is now awaiting trial.
As unfortunately as this transaction went, there weren’t too many things that the buyer could have done differently aside from hiring a professional to inspect the title before the sale. He could’ve also used a more reputable source than Craigslist for a used car. Thankfully for the victimized man, Perez was caught and won’t be able to rip-off anyone else in such a way for a long, long time.