CITRUS HEIGHTS (CBS13) — A Citrus Heights man was diagnosed with some serious conditions and was scammed out of $32,000.
The man and his wife wanted to travel the country but ended up sucked into a scam trying to buy a motorhome.
When Tom was diagnosed with prostate cancer and a heart condition, his wife Cheryl took to craigslist finding a motorhome for $32,000 to travel the country together.
“I’m an ex-truck driver and I’ve seen all the county and I wanted her to enjoy it,” Tom said.
Wiring the money supposedly to eBay Motors, the couple expected to have the 40-foot motorhome delivered to their door. But it never arrived. That money was wired to scammers who were posing as eBay Motors.
The FBI says Americans lost $1.4 billion in scams nationally in 2017. In California, there were 43,000 victims, which is almost the entire population of the city of Lincoln.
FBI agent Gina Swankie says the victims often don’t know enough about the scammers for law enforcement to catch them.
“Once the money is wired it’s gone,” Swankie said. “It can be a lengthy process if we’re successful in identifying an individual.”
An Atlanta man was sentenced to nearly five years in prison for an auto scam ring last year, defrauding 66 victims out of $674,000.
Tom and Cheryl are hoping they have enough time to find another motorhome and see the country before it’s too late.
The FBI relies on victims reporting these crimes to its Internet Complaint Center site, where they track trends and can sometimes zero in on a ring.
Also, if you’re a victim of a scam, check with your tax professional. Some scam losses may be tax deductible.