7On your side: Boat buyer beware - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

7 On Your Side: Boat buyer beware

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Buying and selling items on EBay has become routine for many people but a local man recently lost thousands of dollars trying to buy a boat.

Nobody wants to miss out on a chance to buy something they really want by taking too long or being overly cautious. But the crooks are getting increasingly sophisticated -- which means the would-be victims must do the same.

Eddie Myers and his wife have a boat but they want to upgrade. He was bidding on a boat on EBay but was outbid by a purchaser who paid $13,000 for it. But then, Myers received an e-mail telling him he was getting a second chance. 

"If you look at the emails I got from EBay, or like I said, I assumed was EBay, everything just looked so legit. I mean, just looks like. And I've gotten emails from EBay before and these look just identical," said Myers.

Ultimately, Myers wired the man he thought was the seller $9,100 for the boat. While waiting for it to be delivered, he was stunned to find out he's been scammed.

"I was expecting to maybe hear from the delivery person and started getting kind of worried so, I tried to call the number that was listed on the ad. He informed me that the boat had already been sold and the winner of the boat had picked up the boat already," said Myers.

Hindsight is 20/20 and Myers now wishes he had driven to Houma to see what he was buying and pay the seller directly.

"Before you send money go pick it up yourself. Go there with the money," said Myers.

He has filed reports with the Federal Internet Crime Complaint Center and the Calcasieu Sheriff's Department. Plus, he approached to the Better Business Bureau to help alert others ...

BBB President Carmen Million says there are several red flags in this case.

"We never suggest that when you purchase something online that you wire money. You should either pay with a credit card or  Pay Pal. There are safety nets there for you in case you don't receive the merchandise. If you're going to pay for it and it's going to a particular bank in a foreign country, that should raise flags. It doesn't matter where Pay Pal is located or where the company you're dealing with is located. If it's going to a foreign country, you should investigate," said Myers.

Myers generously shared his story hoping to prevent someone else from becoming a victim, "Beware. I always thought I was a fairly intelligent person and never did I think this would happen to me," said Myers.

He admits it's not easy to lose that amount of money. "It's like your heart drops out at the beginning but it was actually probably worse on my wife. It was her money. But she was actually looking forward to the boat more than I was," said Myers.

Amazingly, Myers saved his son's father in law from falling for the same scam just three days later.

Look for more tips on purchasing things online following this story and look for a link to our interview with Carmen Million.

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