Scammers trying to dupe buyers on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- During this pandemic, worker shortages and supply issues are making it hard to get a lot of things like furniture, cars, even boats. As a result, more people are turning to peer-to-peer sale sites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace.
Tracy McBane and her husband are looking for a new boat.
"My husband found this ad, he found it two places actually, on Facebook Marketplace and on Craigslist," McBane said.
The McBanes got in touch with the seller, who said the boat was for sale for $13,000.
"[She said] here's some more pictures of the boat, I'm a flight attendant, I'm never at home, I have the boat being held at this company so they can ship it to you," McBane said.
That shipping company was supposedly Yandow Logistics. McBane checked out the website and thought it seemed legit, but she'd never used a shipping company and decided to do a little more digging.
"I just didn't have a good feeling about it at all," McBane said.
Tracy Googled the supposed seller and found someone warning it was a scam. So instead of buying a boat, she filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau of Wisconsin (BBB).
"There are people out there who do not have the resources that I have," McBane said. "The technology, the laptop to be able to Google things, to research things, and it's not right."
The address on the website is 3727 Enterprise Drive in Sheboygan. It's a warehouse, no signage, but someone who works nearby says this is not Yandow Logistics.
"Have you ever heard of Yandow Logistics?" CBS 58 Investigates asked Ralph Dekker, who works across the street at Packing Systems of Wisconsin.
"No, I have not," Dekker said. "The building across the street is an ATT service garage basically."
The Better Business Bureau Serving Wisconsin says for the last two years, their number one complaint is online purchase scams.
"Things are hard to get," said Lisa Schiller with the Better Business Bureau Serving Wisconsin. "People are answering more social media ads than ever."
Creating a fake website like this is easy.
"Scammers can create a website very quickly, slap some pictures on it, some copy, some words on the website, and convince people that it's real," Schiller said.
But if you know where to look, you can spot red flags. So here are some tips. First, check out when the site was created by clicking on the certificate information near the address bar.
In the case of Yandow Logistics, the site was created Sept. 25, 2021, just days before McBane found the boat listing.
"This website is newly-created, which is the number one red flag in a situation like this," Schiller said.
Next, doublecheck photos on the site. CBS 58 Investigates did a web search for pictures of the employees and found they're stock images that anyone can purchase.
Those pictures also appear on other supposed shipping company websites that look a lot like Yandow, including Maxtransit, Freightco, Xpressdynaex Courier Services. "Gloria Yandow" is also Mandy Jones and Daniel Nartey. We found the same thing when we searched the other images of supposed Yandow employees.
And remember how the seller said she was a flight attendant? That's also a sign it's a scam.
"That's probably the number one job that somebody in this type of scheme claims to be doing," Schiller said. "And that's because a flight attendant often can easily say they're traveling, they're not able to communicate in a normal realm."
Since McBane filed her report with the BBB at the beginning of October, Schiller says they've received 21 inquiries about the supposed company.
"Other people are seeing ads for this company, Yandow Logistics, and they're checking with us to see what information we have," Schiller said.
McBane hopes sharing her story will protect others.
"Do your research, do your Google searches, look up on the BBB site, and if you have a gut feeling something is not right, don't do it," McBane said.
Other things to look out for: sellers who want wire transfers or gift cards. If you suspect a scam, check with the BBB, or if you are a victim, report it to the BBB.
You can find more information here: BBB Scam Alert: Think twice before buying from these social media ads.