At least as of this writing if you paste the following line into a Google search you’ll find something interesting…
"2004 Honda Accord EX-V6" $3000 site:craigslist.org
An ad with the title and price shows up on almost every Craigslist site in the country and in virtually all cases the ad has been flagged for removal. The reason is that it was a scam.
Chad Rosenberg of New World Podcasting, who is our recording engineer for the Malware Report, brought this specific instance to my attention. It is a scam that’s been around for a while now.
The scammer pretending to be a seller claimed that she wanted to handle the transaction through the eBay resolution center.
Do you know what the eBay Resolution Center is? You better do some research before you agree to conduct business through the eBay Resolution Center, that isn’t what the resolution center is for. The moment someone tells you that they want to do a transaction that way you know they are a thief, or far too ignorant to trust with your money or goods.
There is in fact an eBay Vehicle Protection Program, but I don’t think it adds much value except to eBay’s marketing. It is incredibly foolish to trust the eBay Vehicle Protection Program at all without fully reading the terms and conditions. For example one of the conditions is that “You, the seller, the vehicle, and the financial institutions on which payment was drawn, and to which payment was made, must have been located in one of the fifty United States or Canada on the listing's end date.”
You really do not know where someone on the Internet lives unless you can positively verify their location. A person in Antarctica can post an ad on Craigslist and claim they live in Toledo, Washington. The entire transaction can appear to be happening entirely in the US, and the seller doesn’t even live in the northern hemisphere.
Another requirement is that the vehicle be purchased on motors.ebay.com. This means if you are buying a car through Craigslist, a newspaper, or anywhere but motors.ebay.com then there is no eBay or PayPal protection in place for you.
All of the above should be irrelevant as you really shouldn’t be buying a car without inspecting it first. If you are not a qualified mechanic then you should have it inspected by a qualified mechanic.
Director of Technical Education
Author ESET Research, We Live Security