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Mom-to-be scammed while trying to sell car

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The text came from a number with a California area code. (Source: 3TV) The text came from a number with a California area code. (Source: 3TV)
The Hashagens advertised their 2000 VW Cabrio on Craigslist. They were asking $500. (Source: 3TV) The Hashagens advertised their 2000 VW Cabrio on Craigslist. They were asking $500. (Source: 3TV)
The supposed buyer sent a check for nearly $1,500 with instruction to wire the remainder to the 'movers.' (Source: 3TV) The supposed buyer sent a check for nearly $1,500 with instruction to wire the remainder to the 'movers.' (Source: 3TV)
(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

Raising a baby can be pricey, so Jessica Hashagen decided to sell her old car to get some extra cash.

"I'm feeling good, feeling ready to have a baby," she said. "[We] needed some money. We were trying to move to have a new baby so posted on Craigslist, didn't get any major hits right away. So, I re-listed for a shorter price and people seemed interested."

Hashagen and her husband were asking only $550 for their 2000 Volkswagen Cabrio. It was a price that had potential buyers texting her. 

"I’m interested in your 2000 VW Cabrio, do you still have it and what is the present condition?”

That's just one of several text messages Hashagen says came from a man using a California area code. According to Hashagen, the guy not only offered to buy her car, but he also said he would pay to have it shipped out of state. 

As a result, the guy sent a check Priority Mail for almost $1,500 to Hashagen, which would cover the sale and the shipping.

But Hashagen said it seemed odd because the return address for the check had a Brooklyn, NY return address. The check itself had a Michigan credit union logo on it.  And remember, the guy was supposedly calling from California. Jessica went on to say; 

"The check was for $1,490, which I was shocked at how much it really was," Hashagen recalled. "So, I was like that's an awful lot, but if you're hiring a mover to come across state then OK."

Hashagen deposited the check and then, as instructed, she used Money Gram to wire $940 to the movers who were supposed to make arraignments to pick up her car. 

"So, then I went off and sent this Money Gram of this money that was from my account now and then he said, 'OK the movers will be contacting you later today with a pickup time.' I said, 'OK, sounds good.'"

It didn't happen.

"[I] never heard from them over the weekend until Monday and he said he was sending me another check," she said.

 Another check? That seemed weird, but just as the seller promised, that second check showed up. She was supposed to wire money again. That's when Hashagen knew she had been conned. 

"They’re fake and I have two of them right here," she said. "That I never did anything with because they're fake." 

Those checks definitely were fake, but by the time Hashagen found that out, she had already wired money back to the buyer who is actually a scammer.  

In its Avoiding ScamS section, Craigslist clearly recommends dealing with people face to face. It also warns sellers to beware of offers involving shipping and says you should never extend a payment to someone you've never met. It also said you should never, ever wire money, and should not accept checks or money orders from people.

They're five simple rules to avoid getting ripped off. Unfortunately, Hashagen did them all.

"Well, we can't make rent after we just moved in and I’m expecting a baby within two weeks," she said.

The biggest red flag in Hashagen's situation was the request to wire money.

Many scammers who pulled this kind of scheme are located overseas and use burner phones to hide their identities and keep from being found.

Copyright 2015 3TV (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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