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Listing for trailer leads to elaborate scam involving OfferUp and fake eBay emails

A Colorado couple is now out $800
Posted at 4:20 PM, Sep 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-03 23:34:21-04

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JOHNSTOWN, Colo. -- A couple looking to buy a trailer for an upcoming move said they fell victim to an elaborate scam involving a popular app.

Colleen Cothron said her husband saw a listing for the trailer on OfferUp, the seller wanted $800 but asked to continue the conversation via email. She said the seller told him she wanted to accept payment through eBay because she claimed it was more secure.

"When my husband contacted her through her email she went on about her husband had a heart attack recently, so she wanted to sell the trailer because she couldn’t stand looking at it every day," said Cothron.

The Cothrons received a message from an email address that appeared to be from eBay. They now believe the email address was fake. The email instructed the couple to purchase $800 worth of eBay gift cards to complete the transaction.

"Yes, to us it looked legitimate," said Cothron.

She said they submitted the gift cards and waited for a confirmation email but it never arrived. They started to wonder if they had been scammed.

"I think it’s sad. There’s just a lot of mean people out there today that are willing to take anybody and everybody and I think it’s sad," said Cothron.

Cothron said she reported the listing to OfferUp but reached out to Contact Denver7 because it was still on the site. She also discovered what appears to be the same trailer in multiple ads with sellers listed in different states.

"This was something that we needed and really could’ve used," said Cothron.