CBS 2 Uncovers Used Car Scam On Craigslist

Man Thought He Got Great Deal, But Ended Up Getting Robbed

YONKERS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — As the online market place Craigslist grows in popularity, so do the number of scammers cheating would-be customers.

On Monday, CBS 2’s John Slattery told you of victims in Irvington, N.J. On Tuesday he unearthed more victims — this time in Yonkers.

Laurianne Pisano was getting a generous gift from her boy friend — a quality used car.

“I was very happy, excited, couldn’t wait to get it,” Pisano said.

It was a 2004 Nissan Maxima valued as some $10,000. Her boyfriend, Joe Ciruzzi, was getting it at a third of the price.

But he was scammed.

“I feel horrible. I feel violated,” Ciruzzi said.

Ciruzzi found the car on Craigslist from a seller in Las Vegas who was willing to ship it for a little more than $3,600.

“He told me he was using eBay Buyer Protection Program,” Ciruzzi said.

In fact, e-mails from the seller offered a link for that program, but it turned out to be a fraud.

“He had created an eBay page and e-mailed it to me,” Ciruzzi said, adding that the page looked authentic. “Yeah, 100 percent, eBay in every corner.”

Payment was specified to an eBay Motors agent who would collect the money. Ciruzzi went to a Western Union office and dropped off the cash. In Las Vegas, the recipient picked it up.

“I never heard from him again. No e-mail. His phone number was disconnected the day after,” Ciruzzi said.

Capt. Robert Itzla of the Yonkers Police Department said there was no way he’d ever buy a car this way.

Yonkers detectives have their tech unit on the case. And Craigslist is now posting this warning on how to spot a vehicle scam when:

* Shipping a vehicle is suggested by the seller

* eBay Motors is specified by seller.

* Payment by Western Union or a money wire is requested

* The price is unusually low.

Ciruzzi said he was blinded by the incredible deal, but the car turned out to be nothing more than a picture.

The New York State Consumer Protection Division advises against using money transfers, and says eBay doesn’t guarantee Craigslist, in part, because they’re competitors.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

More from John Slattery
  • CT

    I almost fell for this scam a while ago while searching for a used car. Did a little research from ebay & learned it’s fake. Obviously, these scammers gained a lot from these fake ads, so they keep coming back to post more.

  • Justin Stegeman

    i believe they have the same kind of scam going on with rv’s , i have see’n a two or three year old fifth wheel for $3500 , geez that doesn’t seem fishy , i contacted them ant they automatically had a link to Ebay secured transaction as well , i asked where the rv was located and was willing to travel there but no response . If it sounds too good to be true then it most likely is not True.

  • Bilal Amjad

    That is the ‘American Way’. Take the money and run.

  • Compass Luxor

    As a dealer selling cars on the Internet, including eBay, for nearly a decade, I have a few things to say:
    a) You can buy a vehicle sight unseen, we have sold a great many thins way, and have thousands of very happy customers. Of course, those who bought have exercised necessary due diligence. In case of eBay, the company itself has also held us to a higher standard. That said, there are scams on eBay as well. You simply have to use your eyes and, most importantly, brain.
    b) I agree with above – if someone is dumb enough to think that they could buy a car for 30% of it’s real market price, then they deserve it. I am not saying it with bitterness of a lost sale or a glut of someone getting a shaft. For years I have been getting calls from potential buyers trying to compare and negotiate better deals from us vs. scams out there. I can caution them, but at the end of the day all I say is – it’s your money, waste it wherever you’d like. I have seen all kinds of on-line car scams over the years – very few of them were sophisticated enough for someone with half-a-brain to not be able to tell. I have had people contact us asking why someone else is selling our car for 25% of the car we were selling – the very same car. the difference is – we actually had the car. Their 25% bought them a photo (our photos too!).
    As for buying a car from a franchise story and only there – your loss. We usually beat them by thousands, sometimes a 10-20% discount. But no, no one sells for 25% of real market value.

  • Ex-Brooklynite

    Does Craigslist have a bridges-for-sale category? I have one – really cheap.

  • Wet Willy

    In a related story, CBS 2 also uncovered a large group of people dumb enough to buy automobiles sight unseen.

  • Mike

    if anybody is stupid enough to fall for such a scam deserves what they get

  • karlson

    With all the scams in the world, EBay Motors or whatever name they go by, just got a black eye. I would never buy a car on line unless it was from a factory authorized dealer such as or whatever manufacturer one chooses to buy from.

    This is a virtual (on-line) “Midnite Motors” deal where you may get the vehicle from some guy who sold it to you, but even if you take delivery, how do you know it was not in a flood? With all the flooding from hurricanes and swollen rivers, there are many cars that the insurance companies have declared “totals” and they take them to a warehouse to dry them out and then sell them.

    Where can you find the buyer from Midnight Motors after you buy from him or her and the next day he’s a gypsy – you’ll never find him.

    • http://Aol Chris

      If it is to good to be true then it is to good to be true daaaaaaaa

blog comments powered by Disqus
Giving Tuesday
Charles Osgood Event

Listen Live