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New twist to old online scam

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(Source: KHPO/KTVK) (Source: KHPO/KTVK)
(Source: KHPO/KTVK) (Source: KHPO/KTVK)
(Source: KHPO/KTVK) (Source: KHPO/KTVK)

3 On Your Side has warned you before about the dangers of wiring money to someone you've never met. Now there’s a new twist to an old scam. 

Jamie Kirkpatrick needed a car, so the Apache Junction woman did what a lot of people do: she turned to Craigslist.

"[I] came across a 2003 Acura, and I inquired about it, and a lady said her 26-year-old son had passed away and that's why she wanted to get rid of it," Kirkpatrick said. 

Pictures showed a clean and spotless car, so Kirkpatrick wrote to the seller, who replied, claiming the car was ready for delivery and that it was being stored with all the proper paperwork in Oklahoma. The seller told Kirkpatrick she would even cover the cost of having it shipped all the way from the Midwest to Arizona. Like a lot of scams that include wiring money, this transaction seemed legit because Kirkpatrick was told she could pay for the car through PayPal, a trusted source in online purchasing.

"She sent me this thing from eBay Motors and said I had to give her $1,500 in these vouchers," Kirkpatrick said.  

Those vouchers were actually PayPal cards, and Kirkpatrick was supposed to buy $1,500 worth, scratch off the numbers on the back and forward them to the seller to seal the deal.

"They said they it had to be PayPal vouchers, [I] couldn't [use] the credit card. It had to be vouchers that I sent to them. [They] said it was very important," Kirkpatrick said. 

Something didn't seem quite right to Kirkpatrick. She liked the idea of using PayPal, but she wasn't familiar with the cards.

"[I] told my boyfriend about it and he said don't do it because it's a scam. And I started looking into it and there were several ads with the same car," she said.  

Luckily for Kirkpatrick, she wasn't duped. Had she purchased those $1,500  in PayPal cards, scratched off the numbers on the back and then revealed those numbers to the scammer, she would have been out all $1,500.

Kirkpatrick said the scammer didn't back off. 

"She kept calling me and asking if I’d done the purchase yet, and I told her no, I was checking into it, and she didn't call me back and she took the ad off Craigslist," she said. 

Kirkpatrick said she realizes how close she came to getting scammed and wants others to know to beware that PayPal cards can be used to scam people.

“Luckily, I didn't do it and get scammed by it, but I want to let everyone know to be leery on what they're looking at, to check it out because anything can happen," she said. 

PayPal offers tips on how to avoid being scammed. To view them, click here

[READ: Mom-to-be scammed while trying to sell car]

[READ: College student taken in 'nanny scam']

Copyright 2015 KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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