Heartbroken grandmother reveals how she was scammed out of £10,000 on eBay

A grandmother has revealed how “sophisticated” scammers tricked her into spending £10,000 on a fake eBay listing, heartbreaking her.

Wirral’s Eileen Allen has revealed that she has been tricked into sending £10,000 in two payments after spotting a fake advert for what she thinks is her dream motorhome, priced at £27,500.

Speaking to Dermot O’Leary and Alison Hammond on today’s show, the grandmother of five, who has yet to get all of her money back, explained how the thieves used psychological tactics to bond with her and pressure her into giving her up money hand over money.

Eileen, who wanted to treat her family to an RV vacation, revealed the salesman, who posed as a 78-year-old widow, kept making credible excuses not to meet in person.

In a statement, a Barclays spokesman said Eileen had been asked not to make any further payments until she personally inspected the vehicle, but chose to send more money.

Wirral's Eileen Allen has revealed she was tricked into sending £10,000 in two payments after spotting a fake ad on eBay for what she thought was a dream motorhome

Wirral’s Eileen Allen has revealed she was tricked into sending £10,000 in two payments after spotting a fake ad on eBay for what she thought was a dream motorhome

Eileen spotted the ad for the 2017 Elddis Evolution 196 camper van on eBay, but her attempts to contact the seller through the site’s in-messaging system failed.

She then contacted the phone number provided by the seller and made him an offer of £26,000.

She said the sales clerk, posing as a 78-year-old woman, told her she had a dealer who made the same offer and offered to put down a deposit.

The scammer added that she would rather sell it to a family like Eileen and required her to pay a deposit of £7,800 to secure the purchase.

Eileen transferred the money and received a receipt email from the seller with the intention of picking up the motorhome in Sheffield on April 30th.

But the next day, the scammer called Eileen crying and told her she had been scammed by “gypsies” before and was afraid it would take too long to transfer Eileen’s money.

She then offered to return Eileen’s money, saying she was too scared of not receiving the money by collection.

Eileen wired a further £2,200 to the scammer and said she was “upset” when she heard the woman cry on the phone.

Pictured: The entry Eileen and Jacqueline fell for and cheated them out of thousands of pounds

Pictured: The entry Eileen and Jacqueline fell for and cheated them out of thousands of pounds

But the penny started to sink when the scammer called her and claimed she hadn’t received the money for the second transfer, although Eileen could see that it had been debited from her account.

This prompted the grandmother of five to contact her bank Nationwide, where an employee confirmed the money had been withdrawn from her account and asked if the eBay seller was “real”.

Alarm bells went off in Eileen’s head when she told the seller she knew it was a scam.

From that moment on, she heard nothing from the scammer.

Eileen revealed on the show that she never realized she had been cheated on because the woman had an answer for everything.

She said she asked to meet the woman to give her the money directly in cash, but the scammer countered that she was too old to travel to a meeting point.

Dermot O'Leary and Alison Hammond listened to the

Dermot O’Leary and Alison Hammond listened to the “devastating” story and read a statement from eBay and Barclays

The scammer also convinced Eileen that she had a tracker on the RV and what insurance to get.

Eileen also revealed that a woman named Jacqueline Crawford, who lives in Northern Ireland, was conned into hanging over nearly £13,000 by the same criminal and at the same time as her.

This Morning’s fraud expert Jenny Radcliffe said: “You can see the tentacles of it.” They were up for anything. They’ve done this scam hundreds of times and practiced dozens of times, now they know what to say.”

Jenny also said the scammers used “reverse psychology.”

“It’s about saying, ‘Oh, I’m scared of being cheated’ — why would they say that if they’re a cheater? And also bring all those emotions into the situation. The crying, the people checking if Eileen is real… All of that adds credibility [the scammer].

Jenny added that the police may intervene, but that depends on the likelihood of the pursuit being successful.

She also gave tips on how to avoid scams.

“First of all, research this entry, research how long it’s been there and if it’s listed elsewhere,” she said.

“Use the image to do what is called a reserve search on a search engine.” You can cut an image and paste it into a search engine. There you can see whether it has already been used elsewhere. She added.

“For automobiles, you can check the history.” There are many websites for checking the vehicle history of cars and automobiles. For £10, £15 pounds you might be able to find some details on that.

She also recommended searching for the eBay seller and looking at their ratings, feedback, and sales history.

“If it’s too good to be true, stop, don’t react right away, back off, talk to a few people,” she said.

She also recommended not leaving the app and keeping all communication and necessary exchanges through the app to protect yourself from scams.

A spokesman for eBay said in a statement that Alison Hammond read on the show, “We strongly recommend that anyone purchasing a vehicle on eBay inspect it in person before transferring any money.” On the very rare occasion that one of our users becomes a victim of fraud, we encourage them to report it immediately to the local police, Action Fraud and eBay.

“In this case, we can confirm that we have taken action against the seller,” the statement said.

In another statement, Barclays said: “We have great sympathy for your customer who has been the victim of online purchase fraud.”

“We explained that the payment would be canceled and urged them not to make any further payments unless the vehicle had been inspected in person.” Regrettably, our client ignored the advice and elected to make another payment the same day to do.”

Jenny claimed that eBay knew the offer she fell for was a scam because the true owner of the van, who later contacted Eileen and Jacqueline, reported it as fraudulent and asked the platform to give it up to remove.

She said eBay needs to take more responsibility for keeping the listing active.

People watching at home shared their own stories of confronting scammers.

“Once my husband got a cheap sticky bracelet from China instead of what he ordered.” “So I personally would never trust Ebay,” said one.

“About 15 years ago I was scammed on eBay. One guy was selling electronics, which it turned out didn’t exist. After he was found guilty, he texted everyone that he did it because he was depressed and thought it would help get a lot of money out of people,” said another.

Edmun Deche

Edmun Deche is a WSTPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Edmun Deche joined WSTPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: demarche@wstpost.com.

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