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Local mom warns of scammers lurking on Facebook Marketplace

HOUSTON – At 41 years old, single mom Stacyann Williams, of Houston, said she thought she was making a smart move when she decided to look for her new car through Facebook Marketplace.

Essentially, it’s a geo-located version of Craigslist that is available through your Facebook account and can be accessed via an app on your smartphone.

“I was looking for a great deal on a 2009 Nissan Murano. I knew just what I wanted," Williams said.

Williams punched in what she wanted and dozens of cars at good prices appeared on the app with pictures.
And when she contacted the seller of the deal that sounded best, the low price of the vehicle seemed to make sense.

“The woman posing as the seller said the reason she was selling the vehicle is that her husband had just passed last month and the vehicle gave her bad memories, so she wanted to get rid of it," Williams said.

At a selling price of just $2,500, Williams said she thought the deal was outstanding, so she set about to buy the vehicle.

The woman told her via email that to protect both buyer and seller, she wanted Williams to conduct the transaction via Amazon and used Amazon gift cards to do it.

That’s when Williams says she received a legitimate email transaction document that looked like it came from Amazon. It wasn’t, it was a fake.

“It looked just like Amazon, it had Amazon’s corporate address at the bottom and so I decided to get the gift cards and do the transaction," Williams said.

In the end, Williams purchased $2,500 dollars in gift cards at Walgreens and gave the Amazon gift card numbers to the supposed seller of that Murano.

On the day the vehicle was to be delivered, nothing came. The next day, the same thing happened, and so on.

Williams is now out all of that money, and feels incredibly foolish.

Her advice for all of us is if a deal sounds too good, it probably is.