Tristar Investigation receives calls regularly asking for locate investigations to find the person who stole their money through a Craigslist or Ebay scam. Usually these transactions revolve around vehicle purchases. The seller requires the buyer to send them payment through Western Union or through a wire transfer. Once the money is received the buyer expects the vehicle to be shipped to their residence. The buyer thinks they have done all that is required and awaits the vehicles arrival.
When the vehicle does not arrive as expected the buyer tries to go back to the online listing and they find that it is no longer posted. Craigslist or Ebay is contacted and the buyer is told there is nothing they can do to help because they did not pay for the vehicle through a secured site. The buyer is ultimately left with no vehicle, no money and no help.
As a consumer you can arm yourself with information to avoid these types of situations. Being diligent in your search for the perfect item is not only limited to researching the item. You should also research the identity of the seller. Ask a lot of questions, what is your full name, what is your address, what is your direct email address, what is your telephone number? With these basic pieces of information a background check can be conducted on the seller prior to the buyer sending the funds. That way the buyer can be certain that the seller is who they say they are.
If possible you should also meet the seller in person and if you are unable to do so because they are in another state you can hire an investigator to go to the location and meet the seller on your behalf. This way you can verify the item for sale is in good condition and you can verify the seller is legitimate.