Bogus Craiglist ads cause headaches in Austin



Posted on March 25, 2011 at 6:20 PM

Jacob McCullar is shopping for a new car and he has done his homework.

“That way when you hit the dealership you kind of already know what you’re looking for,” McCullar said.

For others, however, car buying can be confusing.  New bogus ads on Craigslist are only adding to the confusion. 

The ads began to swarm the popular online classifieds site Wednesday.  Each offered a used vehicle for below market value with a pay first, deliver second policy.

The ads copied the logos and the look of the ads at Roger Beasley Mazda of Georgetown, and if someone like McCullar wired money as directed, he would have lost thousands of dollars.

A manager at the dealership says it has posted about 40 legitimate ads to Craigslist.  He estimates there can be as many as 40,000 illegitimate ones which misrepresent Beasley.

The dealership has a banner posted to its website warning consumers. Calls and e-mails to Craigslist have gone unanswered.

“They can turn off all those listings,” manager Chuck Kainer said.  “Right now there are still several thousand listings. We found 90 in New York this morning.  Los Angeles had 70 or so of them.”

One Beasley employee went as far as to answer an ad.  He received a written reply.

The poster claimed to be an Air Force tech sergeant in Alaska, and wrote that the car was being sold due to a family emergency. They offered free shipping and wanted the money wired quickly.  They would not give their phone number.

It is still not clear whether anyone was duped the ads. What is clear is that if anyone sent money, they would not see that hard earned cash again.