A Maryland man recently got scammed after paying for a used car with bitcoin, according to NBC4 Washington. The man, Jerome Harrell, was not familiar with bitcoin when he came across a 1955 Chevrolet advertised for sale online.
When Harrell, a retiree and Vietnam veteran saw the car advertised for $3,000, he jumped on it. He was assured everything was okay after learning from the seller that she got the car in a divorce. The seller told him the car would be delivered from West Virginia in three days after he paid using Google Wallet.
Harrell received what appeared to be an official invoice from Google Wallet. The invoice instructed him to pay using a bitcoin ATM located at a Walmart.
“Payment must be submitted via Bitcoin with cash at the recommended store provided below,” the invoice read. There was also text noting that Google Wallet would secure payment.
Seeing the bitcoin ATM in a Walmart further assured Harrell it had to be legitimate.
“Everything looked perfect,” he told the TV reporter.
Harrell sent the seller $4,400 using the bitcoin ATM. Three days later, when the car did not arrive as expected, he realized he’d been scammed. When he emailed the seller, he got no response. When he contacted Google Wallet, they told him they don’t use bitcoin and that he had been scammed.
Also read: How to avoid bitcoin scams
The NBC4 Washington reporter began the report with an explanation of bitcoin. At the end of the story, she told viewers to be wary of “too good to be true” offers.
Viewers were also advised that sellers who insist on communicating only via email should be alarmed.
Also, scrutinize emails closely since scammers can make emails look like they are from a legitimate source. Harrell received what appeared to be an official Google Wallet email since it carried the Google Wallet logo.
Viewers were also warned about making purchases with bitcoin online.
Harrell, for his part, has given up his search for a 1955 Chevy.
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