A BBC investigation has revealed that criminals are using eBay to sell stolen and cloned cars in Greater Manchester, via at least three accounts, having their details switched with legitimate cars.
Among those scammed was even a retired police officer who was conned out of £17,000 when he purchased a Mercedes Benz, and although he reported the incident to police, no action was taken.
"The police have known about this gang since January," he said. "As a former police officer I'm absolutely disgusted. How can you have any trust in the police?"
Another victim, Gordon Alexander, from Forfar in Angus, bought a cloned BMW for £18,300 in January. Mr Alexander, a garage owner, won the auction and collected it from an address in Rochdale.
He realised he had been conned after the car was taken to a BMW garage for a service the next day.
"I was absolutely gobsmacked. I've worked hard for my money," he said. "I've worked every day, and for someone to just take £18,300. They are the scum of the earth. I'm gutted."
Mr Alexander said he was told by police that the BMW had been returned to its original owner in Bury.
An eBay spokesman said the company was yet to be contacted by Greater Manchester Police.
He confirmed the accounts in question had been closed down and added: "Cash on collection is very unusual and we would ask buyers to always pay via the platform when purchasing."
Online selling of goods is rampant, as evident in the great number of classifieds portals globally, but a growing number of internet savvy criminals is also avidly taking advantage of trusting consumers looking for a bargain.
eBay is the platform of choice for this particular scam, and although the portal has implemented safety features for both buyers and sellers on its site, there is always going to be someone who will find a way to bypass those safety steps, and con or be conned. The question remains, what additional steps can a classifieds portal take to ensure a secure transaction?
The above article was sourced from BBC.com and can be read in its entirety by clicking here.