We knew this time around that we would hope to purchase a vehicle during our furlough. I started looking at cars on craigslist months ago. It helped because I began to "learn the ropes" with what we were looking for. Kate started praying for a car in America months before we stepped foot on US soil. We wanted a mini-van with low miles and a clean title for a reasonable price (reasonable like super cheap would be perfect).
Well I thought I found something even better! The ad was a beautiful white Nissan Altima, low mileage at an *incredible* price. I couldn't believe it! I quickly sent them a text message and the response was "Please email my sister I'm selling it for her". So, I sent an email. The response was that the lady was selling the car from out of state because she was being deployed for active military duty next month and needed to sell quickly. She claimed that she would be using Ebay Motors to deliver the car to us. If we weren't happy with the car we had up to 5 days to return the car to her, on her dime. Wow! What a deal! So I said ok, that sounds great! She told me that Ebay Motors would be contacting me with information regarding the shipping of the car. The email arrived and I was reading through it when something quite strange jumped off the screen at me. The preferred payment method was in iTunes giftcards. Who would prefer a payment for a *car* in *iTunes giftcards*?? So I went to my friend Google. "Ebay Motors Payment Method iTunes giftcards", search, links regarding frauds were the top hits. Ebay Motors has examples of fraudulent invoices and backstories similar to this gal- out of state so couldn't see the vehicle and need to sell quickly. So I immediately wrote her back and didn't say what I *really* wanted to say but handled it the Indonesian way by saving face. I said "After looking over the payment methods, I don't think we will be proceeding with the purchase of your car. Best of luck to you during your deployment."
That whole experience wiped me out! I seriously should be paid for how many frauds/scams I sniffed out. They all had extremely emotional stories, which seemed to be getting more and more outrageous. Quick deployments or even the death of a mother's son on his brother's birthday...
A quick way to tell if you might be dealing with a scammer on Craigslist is if you call the number listed and you talk to a real person. If it's an automated machine requesting your contact info or for you to leave a message, it's most likely a scam. Honestly, if a deal seems too good to be true, it might be just that.
We finally found some deals that weren't scams. The best deal for us was a mini-van located near our location. It has automatic everything, but what sold me on this car was the built in DVD player with wireless headphones!! I told Josh "This is the one!" The Lord out did Himself! Yes, the DVD player is amazing, but there's 12 cup holders in this baby! That's right, 12. It's a smooth ride, no dings or dents, and the man selling it sold it to us for $500 less than his asking price. Let's be honest, we know that was the Lord's hand, because it definitely was NOT our negotiating skills!
So when you see us rollin' in the mini-van wave at us, you could share a ride but BYO Drink for one of the cup holders and enjoy some Peppa Pig with K.