Facebook Marketplace and other online marketplace platforms are a godsend for a lot of people, as well as great time-waster for a Friday afternoon. But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t come without its risks. The internet is full of folks looking to take advantage of your trust, with scammers out to steal your stuff through the art of deception.

This is exactly what happened to an unlucky dude in Huntington Beach, California, when a scammer stole a high-performance e-bike in broad daylight. A report by KTLA explains that the victim, who was identified as Daniel, was trying to sell his Talaria Sting MX4 electric bike on Facebook Marketplace.

With an asking price of $4,200 USD, Daniel entertained a prospective buyer online, and after exchanging a couple of messages and talking to him on the phone, invited him over to check the bike out in person.

According to Daniel, the dude was cool, easy to talk to, and seemed “super trustworthy.” The scammer even played dumb, acting like he didn’t know how to use the e-bike and asking Daniel to teach him how to operate the bike’s functions.

 

He later asks Daniel if he could take the e-bike for a test ride. And as is the usual practice in selling used vehicles, Daniel asked the buyer for the cash first before letting him take the bike out for a spin. You know, as collateral should something happen when the bike is being tested, and as assurance that the guy’s not a thief.

With that said, you can probably guess where this is going.

The scammer handed Daniel an envelope full of what looked like hundred-dollar bills. And since he was really nice and seemed trustworthy, Daniel just took a peek inside the envelope, not really bothering to look at the money in detail, and allowed him to take the bike for a spin. And let's be real here, this is probably something all of us would've done. 

And so the scammer took off and, surprise surprise, never returned. Upon checking the envelope full of cash, Daniel discovered that all of it was fake, with “For motion picture purposes only” in fine print on each of the bills. He took off in search of the thief, to no avail, and decided to file a police report. After posting about the incident online, he received messages from several other victims, presumably of the same scammer.

As of the moment, it seems that the scammer is still at large. But the Huntington Beach Police Department says that it’s working around the clock to catch the suspect—something that’s, quite frankly, much easier said than done. Only 28 percent of stolen property is ever recovered, according to the FBI

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People are getting more and more creative when it comes to committing crimes, and sometimes, even the smartest, most seasoned folks could fall victim to one of these scams. The sad truth is, there’s little law enforcement can do to protect us from scams like these, and so the burden rests on each of us.

When dealing with buyers and sellers from Facebook Marketplace and other platforms, it’s always important to be extra vigilant. Yes, even if they seem really nice and trustworthy. There’s nothing wrong with going over every single detail when buying or selling something online—be it looking for serial numbers on a used vehicle, or checking the cash to see if it’s real.

After all, taking a few extra steps to make sure everything checks out will always be better than falling victim to a scam.

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