November 24, 2022
  • November 24, 2022

East Tennessee woman lost $21,000 in fake Facebook auction

By on September 20, 2022 0

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — An East Tennessee woman who lost more than $20,000 on a pontoon boat that was supposed to be delivered nearly three months ago, is telling people to beware of fake websites. online auction.

For over a year, Kelly scoured websites looking for a pontoon boat that she and her family could enjoy on the lake. She asked not to use her last name.

Early in the summer, she was directed to Facebook and an online banking repo site that auctioned off boats. A 24ft Suncatcher with 130 hours of battery life has arrived.

“We found one here and made an offer on it. We won the tender. We were excited. The company name is Milent Repo,” Kelly said.

Kelly’s offer on the boat was $21,000.

“It’s pretty. Nice boat, it will suit all of us grandkids. They wanted bank transfer, only,” Kelly said. “It says here. No Pay Pal, no credit card or whatever.

June 27 was the delivery date of the boat. The bank transfer payment was probably picked up a few moments after it was sent.

“Yes, that raised a red flag. I know better, but I did it, I did it, and that’s it. Here we go,” Kelly said.

While researching, Kelly discovered her 24-footer on another, apparently legit, bank deposit site.

“Same photo. Same boat. Non-existent boat, [to] to be clear. Boat nonexistent, they didn’t change anything,” Kelly said.

Wanting to know more about Kelly’s boat, WATE contacted Milent Repo, but no one responded. Don Dare left his name and number in a voicemail. Milent Repo’s address is the Colorado Center in Denver. Dare called the management office.

“Milent Repo has never been a tenant. We got a lot of spam calls,” the management office said over the phone. “I believe it was a scam because they have never been tenants in any of our buildings.”

“There is no business in Colorado. The IP address I looked up goes to Iceland,” Kelly said.

The Better Business Bureau has issued a warning regarding this type of scam, be careful before bidding on anything. Beware if you need to transfer money, especially for an expensive item, in online auctions. Also, dig a little deeper. Visit Whois.com and find the registered domain name or URL. There is no charge for searches.

“If I can stop one person from having to go through what I’ve been through, loss of money, loss of heart, whatever. The obsession that it took me to try to stop that, the embarrassment is worth it. It really is,” Kelly said.

“Where was your big mistake?” Dare asked.

“Money wiring. Never transfer money. Never transfer money. Never. Here we go, here we go,” Kelly said.

Consumer advocates say never pay by wire transfer. Federal agencies say legitimate businesses don’t ask for wire transfers, while scammers do. Once you provide the confirmation number, a Western Union or MoneyGram transfer can be picked up anywhere in the world, making it difficult for law enforcement to trace.

This is the first time WATE has reported a pontoon boat on a fake website. In the past, it was cars and trucks, advertised at “too good to be true” prices on Craigslist or eBay.